European business aviation sees the application of scientifically designed crew fatigue risk management systems by operators as preferable to being forced to comply with new flight time limitation rules designed for airline operations, says European Business Aviation Association president Brian Humphries.

With that in mind, the EBAA is asking its membership to collaborate in a study of crew fatigue exposure to enable information to be gathered for study by sleep and fatigue scientist Dr Mark Rosekind of US-based Alertness Solutions.

The EBAA is emphasising the importance of plentiful high-quality feedback: "Until now, business aviation has been inadequately covered by EU-Ops Subpart-Q for flight time limitations. As the European Aviation Safety Agency prepares to amend these rules, the EBAA has launched a fatigue factors survey and will use the input of pilots to propose a new set of tailored rules [for business aviation operations] to be included in the revision."

The revision of EU Ops Subpart Q is proving controversial with airlines as well as business aviation, and it is driving more operators of both types to develop fatigue risk management systems for approval as a part of their safety management system. The result of applying a tailored fatigue risk management system can be greater operational flexibility than flight time limitation laws allow, combined with a reduced fatigue risk.

The unpredictability of business aircraft operations compared with the airlines' timetabled schedules makes airline flight time limitations insufficiently flexible for the former, but a study of the risks peculiar to business aircraft can enable solutions to be developed to minimise fatigue risk, says Rosekind.

These include developing and maintaining alertness strategies to address crew fatigue, particularly during critical phases of flight; learning how to maximise the benefit from crew rest both on and off duty; and the best ways of coping with the effects of long-haul flights.

Source: Flight International