Understanding FAR part 117

Concept Model

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Definitions to be applied to FAR part 117 Application of the Regulation

FAR 117.1 Applicability:

FAR part 117, applies to all certificate holders conducting passenger operations under FAR part 121 subparts Q, R or S. The regulation also applies to part 91 operations should those operations be conducted without the required rest period before as stipulated within 117.25.

applicability

Depiction of Series of FDP’s.

Series of FDP’s are defined between rest periods greater than or equal to 30 hours.

Should any of the flights within the same series of FDP’s, be a Part 117 flight, all part 91 operations (except Part 91 subpart K) will be required to operate under Part 117 flight, and will be subject to any regulation under Part 117.

Flight time:

Flight time retains the common definition found in FAR part 1:
commences when an aircraft moves under its own power for the purpose of flight and ends when the aircraft comes to rest after landing.

Some certificate holders measure flight time from OUT time (UTC) to IN time (UTC), while others account for the time an aircraft is being towed, PUSH, the time from OUT to end of PUSH is not included in flight time calculations.

FDP time:

What is FDP time? Simply put, it is the span of time from the start of a FDP to the end of a FDP.

  • For aFCM assigned to a duty period thatcontains flight time:
    • The start of the FDP is at the report time (UTC) of the duty period.
    • The end of the FDP is at the arrival time of the last operating flight (UTC) before the start of a rest period.


Simple depiction of a FDP

  • For aFCM assigned to an Airport/Standby Reserve (ASB):
    • The start of the FDP is at the report time (UTC) of the ASB.
    • The end of the FDP is at the arrival time of the last operating flight (UTC) before the start of a rest period.
  • A FCM who is not subsequently assigned a duty period that contains flight time, will remain on a FDP until the release into a rest period, (release time of the ASB (UTC)).

asb fdp
Depiction of Airport/Standby FDP

Acclimatization:

Status

  • Acclimated – when a FCM has adjusted to a local timezone.
  • Un-acclimated – when a FCM has entered a local timezone and has not adjusted to the local timezone.

Theater

  • Based upon the difference in longitude from where the FCM was last acclimated to.
  • Is 60 degrees East or West of the point where the FCM was last acclimated.
  • The longitude is based upon the Airport Reference Point (ARP), the longitude must reflect value from the officially published sources eg) Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), or other sources as approved by the administrator.
  • Longitude is a floating point value.


Depiction of Theater

  • When a FCM exits a theater, that individual is Un-acclimated, and will remain in such a state until they have acclimated to the local surroundings.
  • A FCM begins time within a new theater at release time.

Note:

  • The author is invoking a conservative method of the calculation of time in theater by basing the begin time using release time; this is based upon the assumption that a FCM crewmember will not actually begin the process of acclimatization until actually beginning some form of rest.
  • A more liberal method is use the arrive time as the start of time in theater, is acknowledged as an option.

Acclimatization Process

A FCM may be considered at time of report for a FDP as acclimated to any location if either of the following occurs:

  • has been given a continuous rest period of 36 hours or more.
    OR
  • has been within a single theater for 72 hours or more.

Once a FCM has achieved an Acclimated status:

  • the FCM’s Reference Timezone (RTZ) is reset to the timezone of the station at the point of acclimatization.
  • the FCM’s Reference Longitude is reset to the longitude of the station at the point of acclimatization.

acclimatization
Depiction of acclimatization

Window of Circadian Low (WOCL):

Shall be based upon the FCM’s reference time zone (RTZ).
Is between 02:00 and 05:59 (inclusive).

Rest Periods and Duty Breaks:

Rest Period

is a prospectively scheduled, continuous period, free of duty, of no less than 10 hours.

  • A rest period must allow for 8 hours sleep opportunity in a ground rest facility.

rest period depiction
Rest period depiction

Duty Break

is a prospectively scheduled, continuous period in a ground rest facility, of no less than three (3) hours, but is less than ten (10) hours.

  • A duty break must occur between 22:00 and 05:00 (RTZ).
  • A duty break may not be reduced.
  • A duty break is not part of a FDP.
  • Must be scheduled at the start of the FDP.

duty break
Duty break depiction

Defined Rest Periods:

  • Rest time span – is measured from release (UTC) of the previous duty period to the report time (UTC) of the next duty period.
  • 30 hour rest period end time – is the report time (UTC) of a duty period that is preceded by a rest time span greater than or equal to 30 hours.
  • 36 hour rest period end time – is the report time (UTC) of a duty period that is preceded by a rest time span greater than or equal to 36 hours.
  • Physiological Nights Rest – has the following characteristics:
  • has a rest time span of at least ten (10) hours.
  • entirely overlaps the period 01:00 to 07:00 adjusted to the RTZ.

Applied Crew Schemes:

  • Crew Schemes are also known as crew compliments.

Standard Flightcrew:

  • Is the minimum required flightcrew for a specific aircraft type. Reference FAR 25.1523
  • Flight operations which operate with only one (1) Captain (CA) and one (1) First Officer (FO)
  • Any aircraft that lacks a Class 1, 2 or 3 on-board rest facility.
  • Any FDP scheduled with more than three (3) operational flights.

3 Pilot (Augmented) Flightcrew:

  • All flight operations within the FDP must operate with at least, one (1) Captains (CA) and two(2) First Officer (FO)
  • During the Enroute Portion the PIC serving on the Flight deck is qualified under FAR 121.543(b)(3)(i)
  • Augmented Flightcrew must be assigned to an aircraft which has a Class 1, 2 or 3 on-board rest facility.
  • Augmented Flightcrew must be assigned to a FDP scheduled with less than four (4) operational flights.

4 Pilot (Heavy) Flightcrew:

  • All flight operations within the FDP must operate with at least, one (1) Captains (CA) and Three(3) First Officer (FO)
  • During the Enroute Portion the PIC serving on the Flight deck is qualified under FAR 121.543(b)(3)(i)
  • Heavy Flightcrew must be assigned to an aircraft which has a Class 1, 2 or 3 on-board rest facility.
  • Heavy Flightcrew must be assigned to a FDP scheduled with less than four (4) operational flights.

Night duty period and Split duty period:

Night and Split duty rules are only applied to FDP’s that apply Standard Flightcrew.

Night duty period (NFDP)

Is any FDP that Starts, Ends or overlaps any portion of the WOCL (RTZ).

Note: Clarifications have been requested to the FAA regarding FDP that commence after 02:00 but before 05:00.

Split duty period

Is a Night duty period that contains a duty break.

Inflight Rest Requirements:

Augmented and Heavy Flightcrew Schemes:

  • An inflight rest period is only applied during cruise, not during the take-off or landing phases of a flight.
  • Takeoff phase – is generally the first 30 to 45 minutes of a flight.
  • Landing phase – is generally the last 30 to 45 minutes of a flight.
  • An inflight rest period for the flightcrew member performing monitoring duties on landing must allow for 90 minutes of rest.
  • best practices suggest that the inflight rest period also allow for the impacts of ‘sleep inertia‘, 10-15 minutes.
  • An inflight rest period for the flightcrew member performing the aircraft landing on the last flight in the FDP must allow for two (2) hours of continuous inflight rest in the last half of the FDP.
  • Inflight rest periods must be scheduled to always provide than a pilot with a PIC rating is always on duty on the flight deck.

inflight #1

Depiction of Inflight Rest for Pilot performing landing on the last flight.

The First example permits a 2:00 inflight rest on the 3rd flight in the FDP, the inflight rest occurs after the takeoff phase and before the landing phase.

The 2nd example no 2:00 inflight rest can be found in the 2nd half of the FDP.

inflight #2

Depiction of inflight Rest for Pilot performing Monitoring Duty during Landing.

The first example is legal for a 3-pilot flightcrew as the 2nd flight will permit both pilots the required inflight rests at different times. The 1:30 inflight rest is not required to occur in th 2nd half of the FDP.

The 2nd example is only legal for a 4-pilot flightcrew, the 3rd flight will permit both pilots to have the required in-flight rests, but those rests must overlap.

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Definitions to be applied to FAR part 117 Application of the Regulation

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