|UPS Airlines (N288UP) MD-11F climbs just after taking off at Sydney. Airport Flight. Photo: Wikipedia|
[Avionics Today 08-14-2014] One year after the fatal crash of United Parcel Service (UPS) flight 1354, UPS pilots are calling for an end to the exclusion of all-cargo airline operators from FAR Part 117 — the new pilot rest and operating rules Congress enacted to mitigate pilot fatigue. While Part 117, which became effective for cargo carriers on Jan. 4, protects commercial pilots from fatigue, all-cargo airlines are “carved-out” of the duty limits and rest requirements, leaving them susceptible to exhaustion.
UPS flight 1354 drew attention to the exclusion of all-cargo pilots when cockpit voice recorder transcripts revealed pilot fatigue played a large role in the August 14 crash. The crash occurred on approach at the Birmingham-Shuttleworth International Airport, killing Captain Cerea Beal, Jr. and First Officer Shanda Fanning. The Independent Pilot Association (IPA) is bringing a lawsuit against the FAA in an attempt to fight the all-cargo exclusion.
"This carve-out puts our nation's entire aviation system at risk," said Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. "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 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."