March 22, 2011

Fatigue Call to Action for FedEx Pilots

 

My Fellow FedEx Crewmembers,

Here is another opportunity for every crewmember to participate in protecting our future!

A few weeks ago, over 1300 FedEx pilots contacted their Senators in opposition to the Inhofe amendment which would have allowed cut outs to the Senate’s version of the FAA reauthorization bill. (S.223 -- FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act ). After tremendous opposition from many pilots, Senator Inhofe withdrew his amendment and S.223 passed by a vote of 87-8.

With no surprise, the potential is high for the same sort of “cut-out” attack on the House version of the FAA reauthorization bill.

I’m asking you to let your Congressman know that you oppose any amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill (H.R. 658) that would allow exemptions to the pending pilot fatigue rules.

The house is NOT is session this week, but they will return the week of 28 March. It is our understanding that one Congressman will be introducing an amendment similar to the Inhofe amendment. We would like to get ahead of this attack on safety and need your help.

The FedEx Corporation is also not in support of any cutouts to the House bill.

If you have never participated with your Union this is a great time to start. This will take a maximum of 1 minute and will help protect the FAA proposed rules and not exclude safety from supplemental carriers. For those that are regular “Call to Action” participants, your efforts are greatly appreciated and do make a difference.

To log on, here is the easy link:

Send a message to your U.S. representative.

(You can also find this by going to
www.alpa.org, go to “Member benefits”, select Legislation & ALPA-PAC, in the first “call to action” select “Take action now”, log in again, it should be self-explanatory from here.) The information for your Congressman will show up. You can use the sample letter or create your own. Afterwards, please let me know via e-mail (Fedex-LegaffChair@alpa.org) that you have contacted your legislators. Your help and participation is greatly appreciated and needed.

Background:

The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act (P.L. 111-216), which was signed into law last summer, mandates that the FAA issue a final rule updating pilot flight and duty time regulations by August 1, 2011. ALPA has long called for updated fatigue rules based on science that provide one level of safety. ALPA participated in the Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) which was tasked with making recommendations to the FAA on pilot fatigue. Unfortunately, there is an effort underway to derail the work of the ARC and the FAA and allow non-scheduled air carriers to operate under a different set of rules. This is simply unacceptable. Last month, the U.S. Senate passed S. 223, its FAA reauthorization proposal. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) offered an amendment to exempt supplemental air carriers from the FT/DT rule. ALPA weighed in heavily and flooded the Senate with calls and letters opposing the amendment. Senator Inhofe ultimately withdrew the amendment and the FAA bill passed by a vote of 87-8.

During the 111th Congress H.R 5900 (Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010) was passed and signed into law on August 1, 2010. Part of this law requires the FAA to issue regulations, based on the best available scientific information, to specify limitations on the hours of flight and duty time allowed for pilots to address problems of pilot fatigue. Congress directed the FAA with 12 very specific items that needed to be considered when making the new rules. Some items included, time of day, number of takeoffs and landings, number of time zones crossed, fatigue and circadian rhythm research, sleep and rest requirements from the NTSB and NASA, International standards and duty periods, alternative procedures to facilitate alertness in the cockpit, scheduling, attendance and lick leave policies, commuting, means of commuting and length of commuting, medical screening and finally anything else that the FAA chooses to include. A time limit of 180 days for the creation of the proposed rules and a one year from signing for implementation of the proposed rules was placed on the FAA.

Fraternally,

Captain Fred Eissler
FDX Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman