‘Over half of British pilots admit falling asleep during flights’


A new survey has found that over half of pilots working for British airlines fell asleep during the flights with nearly one in three saying they had woken up to find their co-pilot also asleep.

The survey commissioned by the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) said 56 percent of 500 commercial pilots admitted to being asleep in the cockpit while on the flight deck.

This comes ahead of an EU vote on flying hours which the pilots’ association BALPA said could compromise flight safety.

The news broke after a newspaper report said two pilots on a British long-haul flight fell asleep in the cockpit on August 13, leaving the packed jet travelling unsupervised on autopilot.

It has emerged that two pilots flying the UK-operated Airbus A330 fell asleep at the same time with the aircraft flying on autopilot.

This is while the European Parliament will vote on Monday on new rules, which BALPA, a trade union for pilots, claims the proposed changes would water down British safety standards.

According to proposed rules pilots could work a maximum of 110 hours in a two-week period, more than the 95-hour limit under British regulations. At nights the flight limit would be extended to 11 hours from the current 10-hour limit.

“Tiredness is already a major challenge for pilots who are deeply concerned that unscientific new EU rules will cut UK standards and lead to increased levels of tiredness, which has been shown to be a major contributory factor in air accidents,” BALPA General Secretary Jim McAuslan said in a statement.

However, the European Aviation Safety Agency is drafting the new offers to harmonize the rules regarding pilots’ hours across the European Union.

This would also mean pilots could be called to work at any time on their days off scrapping past restrictions.

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