March 11, 2012- A recent study suggests passengers may want to give their pilot a cup of joe. The National Sleep Foundation released the results of its recent study. It says that airline pilots are very sleepy transportation workers. Airline pilots and train conductors are the sleepiest said the study.
Twenty-five percent of the train operators and airline pilots surveyed said that sleepiness affects their performance on the job at least on one occasion weekly. Non-transportation workers only average about 17%.
A substantial number of conductors and pilots said sleepiness has also resulted in safety issues on at their jobs. Twenty percent of the pilots said they made a serious error in judgment because of being sleepy. Eighteen percent of the train conductors reported a near miss because of sleepiness.
Over 50% of the train operators and pilots said they take a minimum of one nap a day during workdays. Only about 25% of non-transportation employees report the same.
Pilot fatigue is real and has become a very important topic for airlines today. Some believe it is behind recent tragedies in the airline industry including a crash close to Buffalo, New York in 2009. Two tired pilots were flying the plane and crashed. The tragedy took 50 lives.
New regulations by the Federal Aviation Association have been mandated but airlines have two years to comply. The new regulations do not allow a pilot to fly of more than nine hours on a shift. Ten hours rest between each shift is required.