NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


Statement from NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman on new FAA flight and duty time rule

December 21, 2011

Fatigue has been on the NTSB's Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements since 1990. Over the first century of powered flight, countless accidents trace pilot fatigue as a contributing factor.

This is why the NTSB is so pleased that the FAA today issued a long-awaited science-based rule for flight and duty time. Secretary LaHood and former FAA Administrator Babbitt have worked for years to shepherd this contentious rule through the process. We applaud the leadership of DOT and FAA for bringing it across the finish line.

While this is not a perfect rule, it is a huge improvement over the status quo for large passenger-carrying operations. Yet, we are extremely disappointed that the new rule is limited to Part 121 carriers. A tired pilot is a tired pilot, whether there are 10 paying customers on board or 100, whether the payload is passengers or pallets. As the FAA said in its draft, "Fatigue threatens aviation safety because it increases the risk of pilot error that could lead to an accident." This is particularly a concern for crews that fly "on the back side of the clock."

We look forward to working with the FAA and the aviation community to support the rule's essential education and training components and to identify areas where additional measures are needed.

Contact: NTSB Public Affairs
Kelly Nantel
(202) 314-6100

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.