From the Fatigue Risk Management Committee - 8/25/16
From the Fatigue Risk Management Committee - 8/25/16


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What follows below is the third article in a series of articles from the Fatigue Risk Management Committee intended to help shed some new light on fatigue-related items that you may not have thought of before.

John Cardaci
MEC Vice Chairman

Tired vs. Fatigued

“I was dangerous and unsafe because I was exhausted”

That comment, copied from a fatigue report, is a scary example of where you don’t want to find yourself or your crewmember. Previous articles from your FRMC have spelled out lessons learned, ways to mitigate fatigue and create a fatigue self-awareness prior to flying.

Why the recent push from ALPA? Because we are getting reports from many pilots flying beyond tired, flying fatigued. But, we are also getting a fair share of pilots calling in fatigued: not flying when the pilot’s physical and mental acumen are degraded to the point of being unsafe.

Again, I¹d like to focus on the knowing your fatigue limits before you start a trip. Where is your “fatigue cliff?” Have you set a baseline of when you know you are no longer operationally safe?

Some examples of fatigue preflight:

  • I only slept X hours in the last 24 hours and I know my limit is only X more hours of duty.
  • My personal duty limit on Monday is longer than my personal duty limit on Thursday—what is it, can you quantify it?
  • Flying one-leg in from the west coast, can I take a duty extension for another leg, or 2 if the weather is good? What if the weather is bad or there are delays?
  • What was my FO’s duty prior to this hub turn? Maybe their fatigue limit will be less than mine and vice versa.

Most fatigue events (when a crewmember calls in fatigued) occur when there is a change in plans. Almost 100% of us are well prepared for our planned duty schedule. It’s when there is a revision, maintenance or weather delay that we see degradation in alertness. As we have learned over the years here at FedEx, we are a successful company due to our operational flexibility, but, there are limits beyond duty time and we need to understand before we lose the ability to abide them.

Important Notes:

  • File InSite Report and Fatigue Report if you have hotel issues or ramp sleeping issues. If we don’t know about it, we can’t fix it.
  • When filing a Fatigue Report, give a good narrative on what happened. It’s mandatory when you call in fatigued and it’s very important for your union representatives (only ones who read the report) to understand what caused the crewmember to call in fatigued
  • Pairings are being built tighter, more efficient. The problem? Any hiccup and it falls apart. It’s hard to see the cumulative issues that increase fatigue. If it’s a weeklong pairing and there is a 1-2 hour delay (wx, mx, ops, turn backs) here and there, the ability to catch up on sleep disappears. Let your union know (SIG, FRMC, PSIT).

Another quote from fatigue reports:

“I did not call off lightly. It was, frankly, very disconcerting to me to call off fatigued after doing nearly the same thing earlier in the month, I had promised NOT to place myself in the same situation again.”

Make the judgement call before you are fatigued, not after.
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