UPS pilots have marked a crash anniversary by calling for all-cargo airlines to be included in a rule designed to reduce fatigue among commercial pilots.
The pilots are demanding an end to the carve-out of all-cargo airline operators from FAR Part 117, the new pilot rest and operating rules enacted by the US government’s Congress. Part 117 is the first major revision of pilot flight and duty limits and rest requirements in 60 years. The new rule is science-based and designed to mitigate fatigue among commercial pilots. All-cargo airlines are carved out of Part 117 for “political” reasons, the pilots claim.
“This carve-out puts our nation’s entire aviation system at risk,” says former National Transportation Safety Board chriman, Jim Hall. “A tired pilot is a tired pilot, regardless of the plane he or she may be flying. By excluding cargo pilots from Part 117, the [Federal Aviation Administration] FAA is failing to adhere to its mission of making safety the first priority in aviation. If the FAA believes even one life lost in an accident is too many, the principle should also apply to cargo pilots.”
The Independent Pilots Association has opposed the cargo carve-out since it was announced, going so far as to sue the FAA. The crash anniversray that was marked was that of UPS Flight 1354. It crashed on approach to Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in August 2014, killing captain Cerea Beal and first officer Shanda Fanning. The cockpit voice recorder transcripts showed that the crew were suffering from fatigue.