FAA aims to publish proposed pilot fatigue rule in the first half of 2010

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FAA plans to submit its proposed pilot fatigue rulemaking for review by the US DOT in January with the aim of publishing the rulemaking in the spring of next year.

It is a slip from an original yearend 2009 target date to publish the notice of proposed rulemaking.

An advisory rulemaking committee (ARC) comprising representatives from FAA, labour and the industry formed in July to develop recommendations for a science-based approach to fatigue management to submit to FAA by September. The agency is still reviewing those recommendations.

"As frustrating as it is for me that we will not complete this complex analysis by our aggressive yearend schedule, I have told the team working on this rule to take the time required to make sure we have done all that is necessary to support what we ultimately propose," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt told members of the US Senate aviation subcommittee today.

When pressed about a final rule being available by the end of 2010, Babbitt assured legislators that would happen.

No plans exist to address commuting specifically in the proposed rulemaking. However, Babbitt explains the proposal will include observations on commuting.

Pilot commuting and fatigue came under increased scrutiny after the February crash of a Colgan Air Bombardier Q400 on approach to Buffalo, New York.