Pilot Fatigue: Relationships with Departure and Arrival Times, Flight Duration, and Direction

A relationship between flight timing and pilot fatigue is expected, but not well documented by field studies. Typically, field studies that monitor flight crews for sleep and fatigue issues have small sample sizes and limited combinations of operational factors such as departure time. To overcome some of these constraints, this study combined and analyzed data from four studies that included 13 long-range and ultra-long range trips with an array of departure and arrival times. In total, 237 pilots were monitored on 730 flight segments. All flights involved four-person flight deck crews with layovers lasting 1-3 days on out-and-back trips. Pilots rated their sleepiness (Karolinska Sleepiness Scale) and fatigue (Samn-Perelli scale), and completed a psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) test. Because of the size of the data set, it was possible to identify the operational factors that influenced pilot fatigue. Results indicate that flight timing and flight duration have a strong influence on in-flight sleep and fatigue.


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  • Accession Number: 01537943
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 30 2014 4:32PM