Pi­lots, booze, sleep

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - OPINION -

Re Blame Unions For Our Drunk Pi­lot Prob­lem (Jan. 10): The ac­cu­sa­tion that labour is re­spon­si­ble for in­tox­i­cated pi­lots is short­sighted and mis­lead­ing. A re­cent in­ci­dent in­volv­ing a Sun­wing Air­lines pi­lot is not an ex­am­ple of a “prob­lem,” but an ex­am­ple of how the com­plex sys­tem of mul­ti­lay­ered checks and bal­ances that are a key com­po­nent of the avi­a­tion safety struc­ture worked suc­cess­fully. In this in­stance, the pi­lot was re­ported by the first of­fi­cer, per stan­dard pro­to­col, and re­moved from the flight be­fore he jeop­ar­dized safety.

North Amer­ica has one of the safest avi­a­tion sys­tems in the world. Our en­tire struc­ture thrives on re­dun­dancy and works to elim­i­nate po­ten­tial risks be­fore they oc­cur. Canada’s avi­a­tion unions have been vi­tal in con­tin­u­ing to en­hance safety in mul­ti­ple ways, in­clud­ing pi­lot health. – Dan Adamus, Canada Board pres­i­dent, Air Line Pi­lots As­so­ci­a­tion In­ter­na­tional

Fa­tigue has the same ef­fects as al­co­hol im­pair­ment: The im­age of pi­lots on At­lantic cross­ings “hang­ing from the straps” and strug­gling to stay awake as the sun rises over the Outer He­brides is the one that scares the real avi­a­tion ex­perts. Let’s skip the witch hunt and rec­og­nize the true bo­gey­man in avi­a­tion: fa­tigue.

Why is Canada still ranked at the bot­tom glob­ally in re­gard to flight and duty time lim­i­ta­tions?

It’s time we woke up. – Kris El­liott, air­line pi­lot, Squamish, B.C.

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