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Travelers' Aid

Pilot Fatigue
November 3, 2000

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"Yes, pilots do inadvertently fall asleep and that does, potentially, put passengers at risk."

That's Captain Rand Harrell, he's a pilot for a major US airline, we can't say who for obvious reasons, and he's talking about "pilot fatigue" ... a factor in at least three major airplane crashes in the last decade alone. Captain Harrell certainly stirred things up last month, after CBS News approached him for a story on pilot fatigue. Now, the FAA and the airlines are on the defensive, and legislation, or rule changes to close loopholes about how long pilots can be on duty could be in the works. But this happened before. Every few years it seems pilot fatigue comes up, discussions and conferences occur, and, in the end, nothing happens. When I spoke with Captain Harrell this week, he told me that he hopes momentum is building for change. Because the situation right now, he says, really does need to.

If you'd like us to address your travel questions or concerns, send us an email. Or, you can snail-mail them in. The address is The Savvy Traveler, in care of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007. Or call me at 888-SAV-TRAV.


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