FDX MEC FastRead (HKG Fatigue) - 10/11/17
FDX MEC FastRead (HKG Fatigue) - 10/11/17


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Recently, our HKG pilots have been exposed to bid packs that are built on increasing block hours, which results in longer nights and increased workloads. They are not the only FedEx pilots facing these challenges, but recently their exposure to fatigue risk has increased significantly. As block hours increase, layovers shorten, and as schedules are optimized, there are more circadian disruptions.

It shouldn’t be news that fatigue is insidious. Unless you are trained to identify the circumstances prior to their development, you won’t know you are fatigued until you’re already there. The prediction and identification of fatigue are the challenges each of us face in the performance of our duties. Scientific studies have repeatedly proven that most of us are not the best at judging our own fatigue levels—so use every tool available to help identify and predict fatigue.

Both the Flight Operations Manual (Section 2.5) and our Collective Bargaining Agreement (Section 12.A.9) require us to report fatigue-related risks due to insufficient sleep. Fatigue affects us all, and we must work together to mitigate the associated risks.

Micro naps, errors with common or mundane cockpit procedures (missed radio calls, improper FCP/GCP inputs, etc.), and having difficulty concentrating are all well-recognized indicators of fatigue. Once these symptoms appear, you are already fatigued. If you identify fatigue in the airplane, write a fatigue report. These help flight management and our own FDX MEC Scheduling Improvement Group (SIG) identify problem pairings and adapt trip design with an eye toward eliminating fatigue-inducing pairings.

It is incumbent on each of us as professional aviators to keep a sleep log—at a minimum, keep track of your sleep in the previous 24 to 48 hours. Your sleep log can be used to help predict your fatigue level. While not an absolute indicator, If you see yourself landing with less than five hours of total sleep in the last 24 hours, this should be a “red flag/threat.”   

Do your best to evaluate your fatigue level. Consider yourself and your crew throughout your duty period. Protect yourself, your crew, your family, and the corporation from another fatigue-related incident. Fatigue is a serious risk, and it requires dedicated risk mitigation efforts in the planning and operation of our demanding schedules.

We have been working this problem through normal channels, and flight management has decided to give the existing schedule development system an opportunity to resolve the HKG scheduling challenges. Time will tell if the existing methodology will serve this particular situation well. Your feedback is appreciated and absolutely required to ensure our feedback to management’s development team is appropriate.

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