Business Aviation Insider - March/April 2014 - (Page 34)
mitigating Fatigue important for Aircraft maintainers
While extensive research has been conducted on methods to mitigate fatigue among flightcrews, comparatively little has been done on the effects of fatigue on those who maintain aircraft. Although formal guidance
has been hard to come by for aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs), these professionals may adapt the
lessons learned in FAR Part 121 commercial operations in constructing similar standards.
"Many of the fatigue countermeasures in place for flightcrew members can be beneficial to everyone, even
office workers," noted eli Cotti, CAM, NBAA's director, technical operations. "One key toward reducing selfimposed stress and fatigue is to manage the situation and keep the stakeholders involved - flightcrew and
management - properly informed about the process, and of any complications."
Cotti also noted the importance in planning ahead in mitigating stress, which leads directly to fatigue. "Lots
of potential drivers may force an AMT to attempt a complicated task while fatigued, including perceived expectations," he said. "If a scheduled maintenance task needs to be performed, ideally the AMT will have time to
properly prepare for that task, both physically and mentally. Problems
may arise because of poor planning, or - when it comes to unscheduled maintenance - a commitment to a tight turnaround schedule."
Former NBAA Maintenance Committee member Jack Tunnell, who
is also the retired maintenance director for a Fortune 500 company,
has performed extensive studies on methods to combat fatigue
among Part 91 and 135 maintenance and ground support crews.
Based on his research, he notes that a direct contributor to fatigue is
simply having too few people available to perform a task.
"When looking at the price for getting an airplane back in the air,
cost is key," he added. "Fewer people equals less cost, even when
factoring in paid overtime. In addition, the extreme pressure to get a
business aircraft back on-line may create a culture of, 'go as hard as you need to go, for as long as you need
"And that works, if you start out with a relatively well-rested individual," Tunnell continued. "As humans,
though, we are what we are. The second or third day on, you will see a consistent degradation in performance
due to fatigue."
Although Part 121.377 provides minimal duty-time guidance for commercial operators, there are no formal
regulations for Part 135 or 91 operations. "And I believe that's how it should be," Tunnell noted. "The goal is
to prevent unsafe performance degradation, and fatigue is to be expected and managed like any other factor
involved in human performance."
Both Tunnell and Cotti noted a significant challenge with fatigue management is measuring it effectively, and
they suggested a voluntary industry process to manage fatigue, supported by operators. "Shy of requiring mandatory logs and direct oversight by management, this situation will not
necessarily improve," Cotti said.
"One key toward reducing
"Fatigued people have difficulty judging their own performance
self-imposed stress and
degradation, much as it's difficult to judge a person's own inebriation
level," Tunnel added. "Also, the only true rest is sleep, and operators
fatigue is to manage the
must provide a schedule that allows the opportunity for AMTs to rest.
situation and keep the stake"That said, the scope of business aircraft maintenance is too fluid
holders involved - flightcrew
to be handled by anything other than guidelines," he concluded. "An
and management - properly
AMT working in an environmentally controlled shop is in a much less
informed about the process,
strenuous situation than the technician working out on the ramp in
and of any complications."
cold or hot temperatures."
eLI COTTI, CAM
Director, Technical Operations, NBAA
34 | Business Aviation Insider
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Business Aviation Insider - March/April 2014
Business Aviation Insider - March/April 2014
Ask the OSG
Regulatory Hot Topics
Tips & Tools
Reduce Distractions by Maintaining a Sterile Cockpit
Safety: Guiding Your Way to a ‘Just Culture’
Maximize Aircraft Value: Part 91 Aircraft Cost-Sharing Opportunities
No Compromises Leads to Six Decades of Safe Flying
Focus on Asia
Business Aviation Insider - March/April 2014
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