In 2009 regional carrier’s plane crashed near Buffalo, New York (CBSNewYork, 2011). In the result of the crash 50 people died (CBSNewYork, 2011). The investigation conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board found that there is a great probability that pilots of the plane crashed were suffering from fatigue (CBSNewYork, 2011). This case made the FAA to push its efforts more aggressively in order to promulgate regulations on pilot scheduling. The regulations are known as the Duty Day Regulations.
One of the key components of the Duty Day Regulations is the rest time. The regulations stipulate that all flight crewmembers should have a rest for nine consecutive hours before a less than eight-hour scheduled flight (14 CFR 121.471 (b) (1). The rest time for an eight-hour scheduled flight or more should constitute at least ten consecutive hours (14 CFR 121.471 (b) (2)). Finally, for a nine-hour or more scheduled flight the rest time should be at least eleven consecutive hours (14 CFR 121.471 (b) (3)).
The Duty Day Regulations also address flight time limitations. Thus, the flag carriers’ pilots can be scheduled to fly in an airplane during 24 consecutive hours only for eight-hour or less (14 CFR 121. 481(a)). In case if an air carrier schedules a pilot to fly for more than eight hours during 24 consecutive hours, it should provide such a pilot with an intervening rest period (14 CFR 121. 481(b)). These rules apply to flights with one or two pilots.
Furthermore, the regulations prohibit scheduling a pilot to fly for more than 32 hours during seven consecutive days. The regulations also set rest hours between flight operations. Thus, a pilot who flown more than eight hours during 24 consecutive hours should be given at least 16 hours rest prior to be assigned to a new duty (14 CFR 121.503 (b)).
To sum up, the Duty Day Regulations are designed to address the fatigue issue by providing appropriate rest time for pilots. In order to avoid fatigue, pilots must rest before and after flight duties. For this reason the regulations are very specific to rest time and flight duty time.