Diversion due to crew hours

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jakob

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So, am currently on CX581 which should be going from CTS to HKG. Unfortunately we are on the ground in TPE. We have diverted here due to crew hours and apparently this is what happens.

Now I have some understanding and even empathy for having protected working hours (having theoretically also such work benefits), however this seems ridiculous. There are close to 400 people on this flight (it's a full regional 773), and many have onwards connections. These connections have gone from tight (with the initial technical delay in CTS) to non-existent.

So my question/rant is to ask whether this happens often? Is this standard procedure? I'm I in the wrong thinking it's ridiculous? I've certainly heard of many occurrences of flights not being able to leave due to crew hours, but to take off and go 3/4 of the way then announce we are diverting seems quite strange. The pilots still have to perform a landing either way (with not much less cruise) and are causing significant disruptions to many people without there being any obvious safety gains (in my (biased) assessment).

Thoughts/opinions welcome.....

Jakob
 

dajop

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Rules are there for a reason, and I am sure considerable research has been done on fatigue in the coughpit and the rest patterns during and between flights, and on duty limits set to protect the safety of all. It's a slippery slope when you just break the rules "by a little bit"? Where does it end?

It would seem the crew must do a return HKG-CTS-HKG, and it also seems from flightaware you left CTS 1:50 after scheduled departure (or thereabouts). I am sure it is much better to divert to TPE, where CX can get a replacement crew (have a base there? or at the very least pax them from HKG whilst you're in the air from CTS).
 

jakob

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Yes, the crew do the return flight.

I hear what you're saying, and I did realise I was on a bit of a rant. They flew in the replacement crew from HKG and we just landed there now.

They have delayed our perth flight from 2240 till 0200 which is great for us but not good news for anyone heading to HKG with onwards connections on the return.

Anyways, an interesting night....

Jakob
 

YSSY

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I'd imagine the crew are more disappointed, especially as they have probably to spend an unexpected night in TPE rather than going home. The consequences of intentionally breaking the regulations would be severe. Fatigue is deadly.
 

docjames

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An airline that puts safety over schedule?

Sounds good to me. Annoying, but an airline i'm happy to fly. It certainly isn't the cheaper option for the airline.

The mid-air diversion could have come from a number of factors (air traffic delays inbound not anticipated before takeoff, better availability of replacement crew in the diversion location than the origin), but once the crew knew they were running out of hours, they have to take steps to avoid a breach.
 

jb747

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So, am currently on CX581 which should be going from CTS to HKG. Unfortunately we are on the ground in TPE. We have diverted here due to crew hours and apparently this is what happens.

Now I have some understanding and even empathy for having protected working hours (having theoretically also such work benefits), however this seems ridiculous. There are close to 400 people on this flight (it's a full regional 773), and many have onwards connections. These connections have gone from tight (with the initial technical delay in CTS) to non-existent.

So my question/rant is to ask whether this happens often? Is this standard procedure? I'm I in the wrong thinking it's ridiculous? I've certainly heard of many occurrences of flights not being able to leave due to crew hours, but to take off and go 3/4 of the way then announce we are diverting seems quite strange. The pilots still have to perform a landing either way (with not much less cruise) and are causing significant disruptions to many people without there being any obvious safety gains (in my (biased) assessment).

Thoughts/opinions welcome.....

If you do a little maths on the roster, you'll find that the crew are scheduled for approximately a 12:30 duty period. Two man crew, that's a big day. With the 1:50 delay out of Sapporo, that puts them to 14:20. At that point they will almost certainly be breaking the law. Beyond that though, NASA did a study some years ago, in which it equated fatigue levels with alcohol impairment. You'd probably be safer behind a crew that had had a few drinks compared to a crew that has been on duty for so long.

Crew hour issues are handled in many ways. Yes, sometimes the aircraft doesn't depart. But, a more common strategy is to simply make use of the fact that you're an airline...land at an intermediate point, with the airline scrambling to get a crew to that point to meet you. Sometimes they'll beat you there.

Going beyond the time limits is outright illegal. The crew will be personally liable. Airlines can lose AOCs over such issues. Insurance is probably null and void. And it simply is not safe.
 

drron

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So sounds like they knew the problem and as JB747 said they flew a crew to TPE.So only a short delay.
From HKG easier to get a crew to TPE than Japan in quick time.
 

oz_mark

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Back in the day when Qantas were flying 747s on domestic sectors, I was on a PER-MEL flight that stopped off in ADL for a crew change after a delay out of Perth.
 

trooper

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Imagine the liability suits if something happened... and it was discovered the crew were out of hours..... but pushed to extend.. "just a little" to get to xx_....
 

docjames

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If you do a little maths on the roster, you'll find that the crew are scheduled for approximately a 12:30 duty period. Two man crew, that's a big day. With the 1:50 delay out of Sapporo, that puts them to 14:20. At that point they will almost certainly be breaking the law. Beyond that though, NASA did a study some years ago, in which it equated fatigue levels with alcohol impairment. You'd probably be safer behind a crew that had had a few drinks compared to a crew that has been on duty for so long.

Crew hour issues are handled in many ways. Yes, sometimes the aircraft doesn't depart. But, a more common strategy is to simply make use of the fact that you're an airline...land at an intermediate point, with the airline scrambling to get a crew to that point to meet you. Sometimes they'll beat you there.

Going beyond the time limits is outright illegal. The crew will be personally liable. Airlines can lose AOCs over such issues. Insurance is probably null and void. And it simply is not safe.

The "rough rule" is that at 24hrs without sleep (ie. stay up overnight until the time you awoke the day before), most people's co-ordination, reflexes and reaction times are the equivalent to being BAC 0.05.

Add shift work, extended "concentration" etc and that time is shorter.
 

kpc

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...and I "used" to work 33 hours straight until legislation thankfully put ay end to that...overtime was a lot! In my first year of work, i once worked 170 hours in a fortnight!
 
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The best way to imagine how the pilots feel is to be a passenger. Pilots been up as long as you. have something to eat. Lights go out. Hum of the engines. 2 pilots sitting in a dark coughpit (if on a night flight). Passengers find it difficult to stay awake looking at a inflight entertainment screen. Try staying awake during cruise when there is often a lull in workload in a dark coughpit.

Even on a daylight flight - blue sky is featureless, coughpit screens dont change much. autopilot. Pilots just sitting there. Easy to stay awake? I think not under any circumstances.

Then try to land at the other end.
 

yohy?!

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the crew fatigue and safety issues aside - TPE is a major port for CX with heavy schedule into HKG, the delay and recovery should be handled efficiently.
 

jb747

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The best way to imagine how the pilots feel is to be a passenger. Pilots been up as long as you. have something to eat. Lights go out. Hum of the engines. 2 pilots sitting in a dark coughpit (if on a night flight). Passengers find it difficult to stay awake looking at a inflight entertainment screen. Try staying awake during cruise when there is often a lull in workload in a dark coughpit.

Even on a daylight flight - blue sky is featureless, coughpit screens dont change much. autopilot. Pilots just sitting there. Easy to stay awake? I think not under any circumstances.

Then try to land at the other end.

Actually that's one of the problems. Passengers think that the way they feel is representative of the way the pilots feel. But, we aren't just sitting there looking at the entertainment screens.

One of the most ignorant proposals ever, involved handing control of fatigue/hours, etc, directly to the airlines. The logic was that they wouldn't do anything dangerous (!). It was tested by a CASA doctor who mimicked a long haul crew by flying in first class. Truly representative...in no way whatsoever.
 
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serfty

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I like the way they appear to have planned the crew transfer.

Seemingly this information may not have been supplied to the PAX.

If so I wonder why?
 

Borisdog

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...and I "used" to work 33 hours straight until legislation thankfully put ay end to that...overtime was a lot! In my first year of work, i once worked 170 hours in a fortnight!

I work 170 Hrs every second fortnight and have done for about 30 years. Along with most of the mining industry I'd venture to say. Some even do that 2 out of 3 weeks, or more!!
 

jakob

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Overall I do have to say Cathay put in quite an effort to get us home only 3 hours later than planned. I think it was lucky that so many had onwards connections (to many Aus destinations but PER especially).

I think the communication from the crew could have been better. Information did not flow well, and when it did was often much more optimistic in timing that what occurred. But of course we all got home safely in the end which is the major point.

jakob
 

drron

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...and I "used" to work 33 hours straight until legislation thankfully put ay end to that...overtime was a lot! In my first year of work, i once worked 170 hours in a fortnight!

You young ones had it so easy.
First year most terms were 120 hour weeks.
I once worked from 8am Thursday through to 11 am Sunday with 1 4 hour sleep and 2 2 hour sleeps.
Went home,Monday was off and awoke 6am Tuesday ready to go back to work.
Which is why our lot incurred the wrath of the consultants when we got the 40 hour week in 1974.It is still not really honoured 43 years later.
 
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