Pilot Working Hours

Back to Forum

This topic contains 52 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  BigDog. 11 Oct 2013
at 08:58

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 53 total)

  • Anonymous


    MEPs are to be given the opportunity to vote on changes to flying rules. One of which would allow for reduction in the number of pilots from 3 to 2 on some long haul routes – with associated savings.

    BALPA the pilot union has surveyed 2,000 of the flying public and are now stating they have the support of the public over concerns about planned changes to the number of hours they are allowed to fly.

    It would be interesting to know what questions were asked and what background/supplementary information was provided as polls such as these are easily manipulated.

    Given access to crew bunk beds and/or fully lay flat business class seating/beds I believe their claim of, in some circumstances having to stay awake for 22 hours is a bit rich.


    With technology proving that airliners can take-off, fly and land under remote control surely having 3 pilots plus highly capable autopilot is excessive with BALPA being more interested in saving redundant jobs than helping the airlines competitiveness. Over time, remote piloting could reduce the numbers in the cockpit even further.

    British pilots have been a very much overpaid protected species, isn’t it about time they joined the real world of supply and demand and the gravy train of over-staffing with £100,000 plus salaries and mega pensions came to a halt?



    Hi BigDog….

    You beat me to it…I was going start this topic…..

    I was going to title the thread……

    Would your CEO allow you /trust you to make a critical decision 22 hours after your last sleep?


    I agree Canucklad. Even with the technology this isn’t an area where I would be cutting costs.


    I’ve always believed that with 3 crew, hours should be extended not reduced. With crew bunks, sleep / rest is possible. Its not exactly hard work, sleeping and watching a movie, whilst being fed special meals… then back to work…

    With a two man crew, it is ridiculous to be on duty for 22 straight hours….


    Ah good, lil’ pup is back with yet another rant on Pilot salaries. This time he has remote Pilots up his sleeve – the simple mention of which again proves how little he understands.

    All the best with your flight training.


    Oh dear, more arrogant and condescending exegesis from the drivers cab. Xuluman, we are still waiting on your list of pilot performance management measures you were working on but view as too complex to be understood here – again, give it a try, don’t be coy, fora are good for knowledge sharing.

    Btw Xuluman suggest you contact the boffins at BAe Systems and NATS to inform them that with your undoubted superior intellect and vision, in your (humble???) opinion, their ASTRAEA program is a non starter.


    Dear BigDog,

    I take it that you are not a pilot or know anything about being a pilot. So I guess that your comments are understandable. Please take the time to read my comments and I’m sure your opinions may be changed.

    In regards to the high levels of automation you speak of, e.g. “a very capable auto pilot” ; the auto pilot does not know how to think for itself. Pilots are essentially flying the aircraft through the auto pilot in the same way that say a surgeon performs keyhole surgey through an endoscope. The auto pilot is programmed by the crew who keep a close eye on it’s performance throughout the flight. The crew very often modify the course set by the autopilot due to things like the weather, other air traffic ect, ect

    In the case of Air France 447, the blockage of pitot tubes which help to measure the aircraft’s airspeed became blocked hence the autopilot disengaged the computers could not handle and process the information……which lead to a sequence of events that ended in disaster.

    Having more crew members on board has only proved to make aviation safer. For example the case of Qantas flight 32 where disaster was averted due to an abundance of crew on board (There happened to be an extra check captain on board during that sector). I’m not saying that we should go up to 4 pilots on long haul flights, we need to operate in economic reality.


    In regards to levels of pay, new hire pilots at LCC’s in the UK are paid on a zero hours contract. If you don’t fly you don’t earn, and there is no guarantee of hours – According to the recent Channel 4 dispatches documentary.


    AF447 was shot down, so nothing to due with the pitot tube theory!

    Even if the pitot tube was blocked and cannot measure the aircraft’s speed, the GPS will do that. As well as giving the speed, the GPS will also give the altitude. The one in my car does that. The pilots could disengage the auto pilot and fly the plane manually, if indeed the auto pilot relies on the pitot tube for data. Also, the mechanical artificial horizon will tell the pilots the vertical heading of the plane even if all other systems are down.

    Wake up mate!


    AF447 was not “shot down”. Please tell me why you believe that to be true?

    As for my “pitot tube theory” I’m not blaming the crash on it, just using it to highlight that the auto pilot can not do anything.


    So the auto pilot was not working, fine. Why then could 2 experienced pilots not fly the plane without the auto pilot or working pitot tubes?


    Hi Skyward, thanks for a considered, rational response.

    A few of points –

    You cited the example of Air France 447 – suggest you research how many pilots were crewing it – methinks 3? How many more would have made it safe 4-5?

    If you progress to postgrad studies you will require more research rigor. In your example it would have been appropriate to have concluded your surgeon/endoscope pilot/autopilot analogy by noting that remote surgeon controlled robots have successfully completed heart operations for over three years.

    Contrary to your assertions, am actually friends with several airline pilots, one senior captain I go skiing with. We have interesting, pragmatic conversations. Under current rules of 900 flying hours per year (100 hours per month) enables one of them to have a second job (alimony can be expensive). Two regard flying airliners as boring (though pays better) when compared to the island hopping flights with BA in Scotland or with SAS in Greenland which really did challenge their aviation skills. Another views pilots over 50 should not crew A320 series aircraft as they cannot bend down low enough to check the engine cowls, especially in the wet 😉 Two manage to commute from the med prior to crewing long haul flights.

    What are your views on BAe systems ASTRAEA project?

    Do you think it appropriate that unlike every other industry, for some airlines there is relatively little performance management?
    In BA and Virgin one apparently joins as a FO two stripe, and then waits until their turn to add a third then a fourth to progress up the ladder. As long as you don’t screw up then just queue. Rather different from surgeons!

    If you watched the video


    Why shouldn’t UK legacy airline pilots live in the real world? Piloting was once glamorous it is now far more commonplace with supply exceeding demand. One can no longer justify the rates,

    As to mocking, this was a reaction solely at Xuluman, methinks he has been watching “Catch me if you can” and still expects copious amounts fawning to be the order of the day. Whatever is eating him he must be suffering horribly.

    As an aside, I have a client who is always looking for bright people with a Physics/mechatronics degrees/background, so if you change your mind about aviation and get a little more rigorous in your research… if you don’t then suggest you join the Air League and we may even bump into one another and you can tell me more about the …”profession that you have very little understanding of” and I could comment why an aeronautics degree from Imperial London may have been a better bet.




    Morning Bucksnet…..

    Good to see you are unswerving in your AF theory…Any idea where your mystery submarine is plying its trade just now ? : )

    Anyway the real conspiracy to do with the AF447 disaster is …..

    Why, immediately after the tragedy—I was in a chat with CX & KA pilots ,who were thankful that their employers didn’t scrimp on 2nd rate pitot tubes?

    As a passenger I didn’t even realise that AF had an option to choose Trabant parts rather than Rolls Royce parts !!

    Also add the documentary about the crash was very disturbing !!


    And whilst they are not working – after one 50+ married BA Pilot fathered a child to a new youngster cabin crew, the darker side of another pilot reappears – should they all be Child CRB/DBS checked?….

    ..Pilot abused his position at British Airways to molest hundreds of girls at African orphanages while claiming he was doing charity work…


    ….”As British Airways launched an international investigation into the ‘shocking’ claims, questions were asked over why the pilot – who was arrested after indecently assaulting an eight-year-old girl in 2000 – was ever allowed to work near children.’

    Prosecution sources said they feared the pilot could prove to have been among Britain’s most prolific sex offenders.”….

    BA now faces a lawsuit by victims who claim the airline failed to protect them



    Appalling indeed.

    It is of course better to have parts of higher quality, but a malfunctioning or completely non-working pitot tube would not be a problem. The GPS would give speed and altitude in addition to its main mapping function.

    It is not a conspiracy that Air France buy cheaper parts, just cost cutting.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 53 total)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below