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Module 2 Papaer Faa

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  LIU, DAVID 23466202/ Section 104 Module 2 Paper: FAA Pilot Fatigue Regulations Air travel has rapidly evolved in the last century to become an enormous multibillion dollar industry. And while technology has progressed to allow us to travel longer and further than ever before, the operators of these machines remain human. Pressure to cut costs and increase revenue by airline companies often place pilots in difficult situations, working for long hours under tiring conditions to meet airline’s expectation s. And, while planes have been subject to an ever increasing number of safety features, only recently has the role and condition of the  pilot come under serious safety review. Recent changes to FAA pilot regulations have finally addressed pilot fatigue as a significant threat to air safety. This recent review of pilot safety regulations was spurred by the crash of Colgan Air flight 3407 in 2009. i  An investigation into the crash revealed that the pilot and copilot were commuting pilots and had to wait at the airport overnight before their scheduled flight, and the final report cited pilot fatigue as being a contributing factor to pilot and copilot impairment, which ultimately led to several incidents of human error leading to the crash. ii  After the release of this report, and under lobbying pressure by the families affected by the accident, Congress held a series of hearings to address pilot safety and pilot fatigue. The result of these hearings was a call by Congress for the FAA to review and tighten restrictions concerning pilot fatigue. The costs imposed by these new set of regulations is clearly demonstrated by the immense opposition it has received from airlines. Even before the regulations were finalized, the Air Transport Association, the largest organization of national and regional airlines, threatened  potential jobs cuts if the FAA proceeded with its new regulations as the costs of changing  policies to adhere to the new rules would be too high iii . While a part of these costs would be   passed on to the end consumer, the magnitude of said costs would mean that cutting back would  be the only means to remain profitable. Aside from the direct losses suffered by airlines, these cutbacks could also have a cascading effect on related businesses, such as airports or airplane manufacturing, magnifying the costs to include far more than direct losses to the airlines themselves. Estimating the cost to this trillion dollar industry at about $300 million over the next decade, the FAA gave two years, starting in 2012, for airline to make the necessary changes to comply with the new regulations. iv  The benefits of the new regulations are much harder to quantify, but conceptually they are two-fold. First is the clear benefit to air travel safety. Fatigue has been known to be a serious safety hazard for more than three decades, spending much of that time on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. v  Thus, it is clearly in the public interest for airlines to adopt these stricter safety standards for the overcall social benefit, though the regulation’s practical effect on air safety will have to be proven in practice. The second potential  benefit is one to the pilots. Giving their approval for these new regulations, pilots now enjoy  better working conditions such as shorter flight and duty times, longer mandated rest periods, limits on maximum flight time, and new fatigue management programs. vi  Again, these benefits make sense conceptually, but have yet to been proven practically, which will come as the regulations have time to make their full impact. Giving these regulations a rating in the present, before they have had time to come into serious effect, would not be an accurate measurement of their overall effectiveness. However, we can tentatively give this regulation an A- rating, conditional on its practical effectiveness in the future. The projected losses of only $300 million over ten years to airlines is far outweighed by the social goals of public safety. If indeed the predictions are accurate, and regulation can be effective without creating additional costs, then it will have proved itself as more than successful.   Paper Outline Intro: Air travel has rapidly evolved in the last century to become an enormous multibillion dollar industry. And while technology has progressed to allow us to travel longer and further than ever before, the operators of these machines remain human. Pressure to cut costs and increase revenue by airline companies often place pilots in stressful situations, needing to work for extended periods of time under tiring conditions. While planes have an ever increasing  plethora of safety features, only recently has the role of pilot come under safety review. Thesis: Recent FAA regulations regarding pilot fatigue and pilot flight and duty time limits have finally addressed pilot fatigue as a serious threat to air safety. Paragraph 1:    Regulations of pilot duties and duty time were looked into after the crash of Colgan Air flight 3047 and pilot fatigue were considered contributing factors to the crash by the  NTSB investigation.    Tighter restrictions had support from pilots and air travelers Costs:    Opposed by Airlines    Cost to airlines as they need more pilots, or fly fewer flights    Fewer flights leads to costs in airline related industries, like airport jobs or airplane manufacturing    Changes were so drastic that they require two year the fully implement    FAA projects almost $300 million in losses over the next decade    Some of the cost passed onto consumers, but not all of it, hence cost cutting Benefits:    Benefits are conceptually sound, but no evidence to back it up yet o   relatively new regulation needs time to work    Increased safety for air travel o   Social benefit not sought after by companies    Better working conditions for pilots Conclusion:    A- rating. Because the program is so recently implemented, its effects haven’t fully been realized. Need to see future performance in terms of benefits (less pilot fatigue crashes) and cost (of air travel and economic health of related sectors.)    $300 over ten years is not a lot for a multi-trillion dollar industry.    Benefits outweigh costs   Notes i  United States of America. National Transportation Safety Board. Loss of Control on Approach Colgan Air, Inc. Operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407 Bombardier DHC-8-400, N200WQ . New York: , 2009. Print. <http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2010/aar1001.pdf>. ii  Loss of Control on Approach Colgan Air, Inc. Operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407 Bombardier DHC-8-400, N200WQ, 107. iii  Crawley, John, and Andre Grenon, eds. US airlines say pilot fatigue rule would cost jobs. Reuters . Reuters, 16 Sep 2011. Web. 26 Feb 2013. <http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/16/uk-airlines-fatigue-idUSLNE78F01820110916>. iv  Hilkevitch, Jon. FAA's new pilot fatigue rules aim to put concerns to rest. Chicago Tribune . Chicago Tribune, 21 Dec 2011. Web. 26 Feb 2013. <http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-12-22/business/ct-biz-1222-pilot-fatigue-20111222_1_reserve-pilots-cargo-pilots-air-line-pilots-association>. v  Loss of Control on Approach Colgan Air, Inc. Operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407 Bombardier DHC-8-400, N200WQ, 162. vi  United States of America. Federal Aviation Administration. REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS Flightcrew Member Duty and Rest Requirements . Washington, D.C.: , 2011. Print. <http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/recently_published/media/2120-AJ58RegEval.pdf>.
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