Understanding FAR part 117

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FAQ – Consecutive nighttime operations

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FAQ – Daily Flight Duty Time Limitations – Split Duty. FAQ – Reserve status.

In formulating this rule, the FAA was particularly concerned about cumulative fatigue caused by repeatedly flying at night.

Nighttime operations are particularly fatiguing because flightcrew members who work during these operations do so during the WOCL after obtaining less restful daytime sleep.

Studies have shown that this type of work not only leads to transient fatigue, but also leads to cumulative fatigue if repeated over a series of consecutive nights.

FRMS modeling showed substantially deteriorating performance after the third consecutive nighttime FDP for flightcrew members who worked nightshifts during the WOCL and obtained sleep during the day.

However, the FAA noted that if a sleep opportunity is provided during each nighttime FDP, that sleep opportunity may sustain flightcrew member performance for five consecutive nights.

Q52) Are augmented operations that infringe upon the WOCL considered a night time operation?

A52) Yes, A flightcrew member serving on an augmented FDP will be considered a nighttime operation, since due to the durations of flight operations required for an augmented FDP would not allow for a 2 hour rest in a suitable accommodation, that complies with the conditions in 117.15(a), (c), (d), and (e), the limitation is simply 3 consecutive nighttime operations.

Q53) If a flightcrew member is assigned to deadhead transportation that infringes the WOCL considered a nighttime operation?

A53) Yes under the following conditions, should the time in deadhead transportation be assigned before a flight time without an intervening rest period required under 117.25(e).

Q54) If a crewmember is assigned to a long call reserve, short call reserve or airport/stand-by reserve, that infringes upon the WOCL, considered a night time operation?

A54) An Airport/Stand-by reserve would be considered a night time operation as a it is considered a FDP (117.3 Definitions refers), while Long-call and Short-call reserves are not considered to be an FDP.

Q55) Is a flightcrew member required to receive a 2 hour rest in a suitable accommodation in order to comply with the consecutive night operations?

A55) No, this is an optional provision to 117.27, however when a crewmember serving on a nighttime operation for a 4th or 5th consecutive night, that crewmember must have been scheduled for and must have been given, for all of the consecutive nighttime operations, a 2 hour rest in a suitable accommodation, than complies with the conditions in 117.15(a), (c), (d), and (e).

Q56) Is it legal to assign a flightcrew member to 3 consecutive night operations, followed by a fdp which is not considered a night time operation, followed by another nighttime operations?

A56) Yes, in the case presented, the flightcrew member has not had more than 3 consecutive night time operations and is not required to have the 2 hour rest in suitable accommodation.

Q57) If a flightcrew member is assigned a FDP that starts before 2 am and continues into the WOCL, followed by a FDP that starts after 2 am but before 5:59 am, are these considered consecutive nighttime operations?

A57)Accordingly, an FDP “infringes on the window of circadian low” for the purposes of § 117.27 if any portion of that FDP takes place during the WOCL. Thus, an operation that begins during the WOCL would “infringe on the window of circadian low” and be subject to § 117.27 because a portion of that operation would be conducted during the WOCL. An operation that remains entirely free of the WOCL would not “infringe on the window of circadian low” for the purposes of § 117.27 because no portion of that operation would be conducted during the WOCL.

117.27  Consecutive nighttime operations.

A certificate holder may schedule and a flightcrew member may accept up to five consecutive flight duty periods that infringe on the window of circadian low if the certificate holder provides the flightcrew member with an opportunity to rest in a suitable accommodation during each of the consecutive nighttime flight duty periods.

The rest opportunity must be at least 2 hours, measured from the time that the flightcrew member reaches the suitable accommodation, and must comply with the conditions specified in § 117.15(a), (c), (d), and (e).

Otherwise, no certificate holder may schedule and no flightcrew member may accept more than three consecutive flight duty periods that infringe on the window of circadian low.

For purposes of this section, any split duty rest that is provided in accordance with § 117.15 counts as part of a flight duty period.

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FAQ – Daily Flight Duty Time Limitations – Split Duty. FAQ – Reserve status.
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