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Significance of time awake for predicting pilots' fatigue on short-haul flights: implications for flight duty time regulations

Vejvoda, M. and Elmenhorst, E.-M. and Pennig, S. and Plath, G. and Maass, H. and Tritschler, K. and Basner, M. and Aeschbach, D. (2014) Significance of time awake for predicting pilots' fatigue on short-haul flights: implications for flight duty time regulations. Journal of Sleep Research, pp. 1-4. Wiley. DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12186 ISSN 0962-1105

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European regulations restrict the duration of the maximum daily flight duty period for pilots as a function of the duty start time and the number of scheduled flights. However, late duty end times that may include long times awake are not specifically regulated. In this study, fatigue levels in pilots finishing their duty late at night (00:00–01:59 hour) were analysed and compared with pilots starting their duty early (05:00–06:59 hour). Fatigue levels of 40 commercial short-haul pilots were studied during a total of 188 flight duty periods, of which 87 started early and 22 finished late. Pilots used a small handheld computer to maintain a duty and sleep log, and to indicate fatigue levels immediately after each flight. Sleep logs were checked with actigraphy. Pilots on late-finishing flight duty periods were more fatigued at the end of their duty than pilots on early-starting flight duty periods, despite the fact that preceding sleep duration was longer by 1.1 h. Linear mixed-model regression identified time awake as a preeminent factor predicting fatigue. Workload had a minor effect. Pilots on late-finishing flight duty periods were awake longer by an average of 5.5 h (6.6 versus 1.1 h) before commencing their duty than pilots who started early in the morning. Late-finishing flights were associated with long times awake at a time when the circadian system stops promoting alertness, and an increased, previously underestimated fatigue risk. Based on these findings, flight duty limitations should consider not only duty start time, but also the time of the final landing.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/90472/
Document Type:Article
Title:Significance of time awake for predicting pilots' fatigue on short-haul flights: implications for flight duty time regulations
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Vejvoda, M.martin.vejvoda (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Elmenhorst, E.-M.eva-maria.elmenhorst (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Pennig, S.sibylle.pennig (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Plath, G.gernot.plath (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Maass, H.hartmut.maass (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Basner, M.mathias.basner (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Aeschbach, D.daniel.aeschbach (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Journal or Publication Title:Journal of Sleep Research
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1111/jsr.12186
Page Range:pp. 1-4
Keywords:cockpit crew, duty duration, early starts, hazard, late finishes, sleepiness
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:air traffic management and operations
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AO - Air Traffic Management and Operation
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Human factors and safety in Aeronautics
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Flight Physiology
Deposited By: Sender, Alina
Deposited On:10 Sep 2014 11:06
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:19

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