Max crew duty and captain’s discretion

The flight crew members have to get 10-hours of rest time every 24 hours. The maximum duty day is 14 hours and has to be followed by 10-hours of rest in their hotels. While scheduling flights, the operators may arrange 12-hours of rest instead of 10-hours. These extra 2-hours allow the crew to arrive at their hotels and to be ready to leave before the next flight.

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What does the max crew duty mean?

Max crew duty is the maximum time a pilot works within 24 hours. The max crew duty hours is 14-hours during 24 hours. The captain checks the details of the flight, weather conditions, the number of passengers, the cabin crew members, fuel case pre-flight and this takes about two hours. After the flight, the routine check and in case the need to fuel stop, this might take about an hour. This takes 10 hours to fly and the maximum time allowed is 24 hours, this is sometimes called the 24/10 rule. In case the pilot exceeds the max crew duty, this may cause confusion and may cause losing his license. If the client is running late and the crew is close to their maximum duty time, a new crew may be called to replace the other crew. According to FAA guidelines and regulations, hours are scheduled very carefully for pilots and crew to adhere.

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What is the Captain’s discretion?

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On an airline, the pilot in command is called the captain, who is sat at the left side of the cockpit. He is responsible for everything happening in the flight which includes leading the cabin crew and decisions in emergency cases. Captain’s discretion enables the captain to increase his shift by up to three hours. This decision backs to the pilot, not the passengers, the airline, or the operator.

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Captain’s discretion should not be taken simply, because pilot fatigue is a very serious threat. FAA regulations on flight hours have been carefully thought-out to avoid fatigue and to avoid human errors while flying. Working an extra hour or two may have a major impact over time, this can increase the risk of long-term fatigue. That’s why there are hard rules not just on the hours worked in one day, but also over a month and year.

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Do some flights require two crews?

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In case the flight exceeds 10-hours there is going to be a need for two separate crews. This may require an area when one crew gets to rest while the other is on duty. Also, the flight might need a fuel stop that the old crew could get off and the other crew could get on while refueling, the second crew can fly there in advance, giving them time to rest. For example, refueling is planned for Iceland. The second crew can fly there previously, giving them time to rest. This plane then stops to refuel in Iceland and collects the new crew. With the fresh crew on board, it can then fly for another 10 hours. For instance, a flight from the US to Australia.

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Sources

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