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The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter.

NZALPA and CAA work on fatigue risk management for helicopter and small plane operators

NZALPA general aviation (GA) representatives are collaborating with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on fatigue risk management for GA pilots and the helicopter and small plane operations in which they work.

In July, a fatigue focused external workshop initiated by the CAA kick-started the campaign with key industry stakeholders.

“Fatigue remains a serious issue for many in the GA sector,” NZALPA advocate Tom Buckley said.

“When we consider the pressures of pilot supply issues and increased demand on flight instructors, we have a situation where we need to protect the mental wellbeing of these pilots for the safety of themselves and the travelling public.

“We consider fatigue levels as a key aspect of maintaining optimum mental wellbeing. As New Zealand’s leading industries – tourism, agriculture and forestry – continue to grow, the economic pressures for employers increase and we need to make sure pilots at every level are not exposed to fatigue and the increased risk that comes from it.”

The fatigue workshops will address regulations rule Part 135 (air operations – helicopters and small aeroplanes) and Part 141 (aviation training organisations), which both make reference to responsibilities and systems around flight crew fatigue.

The initial workshop unearthed feedback from many stakeholders, including and not limited to:

  • Fatigue is not just about rostering.
  • Tools should be tailored to different sectors of aviation – should be organised into individual, organisation and regulator.
  • Fatigue is an industry-wide issue and affects everybody and is part of “shift work”.
  • Communication between management and pilots is key to highlighting early and major signs of fatigue – more honesty is needed.
  • Relevant information is currently available through Worksafe.
  • Fatigue is a grey area – things we use to measure fatigue are different for everybody and there are many influences to fatigue.
  • The regulators (CAA) should be putting frameworks in place to educate/communicate.

At time of writing, the CAA Technical Committee were meeting to coordinate NZALPA’s input into its next workstream. NZALPA will keep GA members updated with the outcomes from follow-up workshops.

Any GA members with questions about fatigue management email general.aviation@nzalpa.org.nz

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