Category: Flight

Aircraft Insurance: What Type Should Pilots Carry?

Dr. Mary Ann O’Grady

Your aircraft and flying skills represent wonderful business and personal capabilities, but they may also constitute one of the largest exposures to catastrophes that you can imagine. So, the following summary details a list of the most critical aircraft insurance coverage types and [potential] losses:

Aircraft Hull Insurance

Aircraft hull insurance covers physical damage to the aircraft as a result of an accident where the insurer has the option to pay for the repairs or to declare it a total loss, which requires that the insured pay the insured value that is stated on the policy.

Aircraft hull insurance premiums are calculated on $100 of the insured value of the aircraft where the higher the insured value, the lower the rate per $100 drops. For example, the hull premium for a midsized jet that is not used for commercial purposes and has an insured value of $10 million might cost $13,000.00 or 13 cents per $100 of insured value. In comparison, an older version of the same jet that is insured for $5 million might have a premium cost of $10,500.00 or 21 cents per $100 of insured value.
Aircraft hull insurance is required by the bank if you have a lien on the aircraft; however, you would also need it unless you can afford to withstand an uninsured loss.

Caveat: Since aircraft hull insurance is predicated upon the aircraft’s agreed-to or stated value rather than its cash value, there is a potential for over-insuring or under-insuring it which can be problematic. For example, when the hanger collapsed at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. in 2010, many of the damaged aircraft were significantly over-insured. This resulted in a situation where the insurers were forced to repair aircraft that the owners would have rather declared as total losses. Therefore, the accurate insured value to carry on the aircraft is its current market value or lien amount whichever is greater; coverage for war-risk perils should also be included since it offers broad additional coverage for a small additional premium. Annual reviews of aircraft insurance coverage should be conducted and adjusted at the time of renewal if necessary.

Aircraft Liability Insurance

Aircraft liability insurance covers liability for bodily injury or property damage that arises from an accident, and the insurance is written on a single-limit-per-occurrence basis, such as $100 million per occurrence. This type of aircraft insurance includes [legal] defense costs over and above the stated liability cap.

Aircraft liability insurance premiums are typically a flat amount that is based on factors, such as the selected liability limit, the pilot(s) who are flying the aircraft and/or the owner/pilot, and the approved use (Part 91 versus Part 135). Using the midsized jet mentioned previously as an example, with an insured valued of $10 million, the approximate annual premiums for ascending liability might be $8,500.00 for $100 million of coverage, $17,000.00 for $200 million of coverage and $25,000.00 for $300 million of coverage. These quotes will vary based on the age of the aircraft and the extent to which the underwriter opts to place a greater premium on the hull insurance and less of a premium on the liability component of the coverage. There could also be rate surcharges of up to 25 percent depending upon how much or often the aircraft is used for charter flights.

Aircraft liability insurance is needed by everyone since it protects against the largest catastrophic loss exposure, such as accidents resulting in injury or property damage due to which you are most likely to be sued even if the suit is groundless.

Caveat: Buy as high a limit of coverage as you can afford since it is likely that you will not find out whether you have enough coverage until after you have experienced a loss. The liability claims generated by a crash while carrying one or more high-net-worth individuals or when flying over a populated area could easily exceed $100 million. So for that reason, carrying $200 million to $500 million liability limits can certainly provide additional peace of mind. As with hull insurance, carrying coverage for war-risk perils is recommended since it offers broader additional protection for a small additional premium.

Approved Pilot Clause

Approved pilot clause covers who is authorized under a policy to act as pilot-in-command or second-in-command on an aircraft.

There is no specific premium associated with this approved-pilot clause, but the overall policy premium directly correlates with the pilots’ experience level and their training protocol. Obviously, the better qualified the pilots and the more stringent their recurrent training and safety initiatives, the lower the premiums will be.

Approved pilot clause is included in all policies; however, a disproportionate number of claim denials are directly related to the fact that the pilots flying aircraft did not meet the exact criteria of their pilot clause. For example, a Falcon 900 that aborted a takeoff and exited the runway causing extensive damage to the aircraft was denied the claim by the insurer because the copilot that day, although well-qualified, had not completed the insurance-related training for the make and model of the aircraft.

Caveat: If only one section of the aircraft insurance policy is renewed each year, this should be the section and it should be negotiated by an aviation insurance broker as the broadest approved-pilot clause possible. The clause varies greatly among insurers so if the insured is not represented by an experienced broker, he or she will be at a distinct disadvantage. Be sure to provide the flight department and/or any other pertinent parties with a copy of this section combined with any evidence of required recurrent training when the insurance policy is received annually. Also, note that virtually without exception, the primary pilots of all turbine/jet aircraft must complete annual recurrent training at an insurer-approved facility whether or not such training is stipulated in the policy. In addition, this training is critical when statistics purport that 85% of aircraft accidents are a result of pilot error.

We will continue to explore additional aircraft insurance options in an upcoming Part 2 on this topic.

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Why Pilots Need To Know About The Mesoscale Convective Complex

Beware. The Mesoscale Convective Complex feeds on itself and grows like rapidly-spreading cancer.

Vern Weiss

It is called the Mesoscale Convective Complex and pilots should be keenly aware of the term when it appears in a weather briefing. Of course, all thunderstorms require caution but what makes the MCC so nasty is that it becomes a long-living, slow-moving, self-regenerating system that covers an enormous area of ground.

It wasn’t until 1980 that we even knew about them when meteorologist Robert Maddox identified its characteristics while doing research at the NOAA Environmental Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.1 Until then Mesoscale Convective Systems were known but primarily in the tropical regions of the world. What made his MCC discovery significant is that it is a product of “the good ol’ USA.”

I am sure we agree that all thunderstorms can be nasty. They all can spawn lots of rain, hail, wind and short-term titillation like wind-shear and tornadoes. With an MCC we cannot even call it a thunderstorm; it is a multiplicity of thunderstorms. If you put a pot of water on a stove top and bring it to a rolling boil, you are watching something analogous to a Mesoscale Convective Complex. As one bubble diminishes, another grows. As that one begins to diminish, another one adjacent to it erupts.

One of the best-known events that was caused by a Mesoscale Convective Complex occurred in 1977 when flash flooding surprised everyone in Johnstown, Pennsylvania and killed 76 people.2 In 1985, a Delta Airlines L-1011 got snarled in the grip of wind shear believed to have been associated with an MCC, smashing it into the ground on the approach to DFW and killing 134 people.3

More recently in May 2015, MCCs deluged and clobbered Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nebraska. Typically 10 to 14 inches of rain fell on concrete bridges that were busted to bits. “It has been one continuous storm after another for the past week to 10 days in several regions of the state,” said Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, a Texas state climatologist.4

Pilots know that all thunderstorms require 3 main ingredients: moisture, unstable air, and a lifting force. It is the lifting force that gets the storm’s engine to start. The four primary means of providing a lifting force are through convection when the sun warms up a parcel of air. Since warm air is lighter than cool air the parcel begins to rise. When it rises high enough the moisture in that parcel begins to condense and there’s your rain. Another means is through frontal activity. The lifting force is provided by the “scooping” action of a front as it is pushed along by the winds rotating around the big “L” in the center of a low-pressure area. By the way, I’ve been flying a long time and seen my share of bad weather but have yet to ever see the “L” at the center of low pressure. One time I was looking up in the sky on a CAVU (Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited) day and I thought I saw the “H” of a high-pressure system but it turned out to be just 3 high altitude aircraft making contrails that crisscrossed.

The third primary type is the nocturnal thunderstorm. A simplification of this one’s description is that it is a variation of the convective type. The sun beats down on the Earth all day, warming up the ground. After sunset, the air cools quickly and then the ground starts releasing its stored- up heat. Warm air rises and the parcel of air adjacent to the ground begins rising. Once it reaches an altitude where its dew point is achieved, the moisture condenses and if the air is unstable the mechanism for a thunderstorm is launched. These typically occur after 10 PM, so don’t ever fly after 10 PM if you want to avoid them.

The fourth mechanism providing a lifting force to unstable and moist air is through orographic means. This is a fancy word that, translated for we who were solid “C” students in school, means hills or mountains.

Now let’s get back to the Mesoscale Convective Complex.

The generation of an MCC is usually detected with satellite infrared imaging. I’m now going to throw a whole bunch of generalities at you. Bear in mind that these are not absolutes; they’re just typical.

Photo by Keven Menard

Photo by Keven Menard

Mesoscale Convective Complexes are most often found in the central part of the US but begin with frontal and orographic movement. This is not to say that they don’t occur elsewhere. (remember Johnstown and Delta at DFW?). They generally are strong for 12 hours or more and commonly form in the late afternoon and continue until sunrise the next morning. They typically form when the dewpoint is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This last ingredient is particularly savory because a dewpoint above 70 degrees is also considered the trigger for plain, old garden- variety tornadoes. So yes, it should be no surprise that an MCC will be rich in tornado activity.

From a pilot’s standpoint, there are obvious cautions: Wind-shear, heavy rain, high winds, intense lightning, hail and damaging tornadoes; lots of all those things because this is a thunderstorm that covers a wide area and moves slowly, feeding on itself. Even Dr. Maddox (now with the National Severe Storms Forecast Center in Oklahoma) warns pilots that, with an MCC, “the agglomeration and expansion of thunderstorm cells may occur so rapidly that the pilot of a slow-moving light aircraft may find himself literally engulfed by thunderstorms.”5

Mesoscale Convective Complexes are huge and minimally will cover an area of nearly 39,000 square miles (or roughly the size of the State of Virginia). Aircraft attempting to skirt the northern side of such a large area will experience extremely strong winds which may be a factor, depending on the direction of travel. Pilots skirting the southern side of an MCC will observe very light winds which may diminish any anticipated “help” from tailwinds. But, c’mon…with such a weather system are we really worried about “on time” arrivals? Of course, if the wonky winds create fuel concerns it becomes a serious matter.

We’ve got some incredible aircraft now. Big…tough…powerful. But even those “heavy iron” monsters are no match for Nature. The more dangerous the weather forecast is, the longer you should study it. Flying in the vicinity of thunderstorms can be dangerous but, carefully executed, is do-able. But when a Mesoscale Convective Complex is sitting on your destination it might be a good time to head to the Motel 6. Because they’ll leave the light on for you.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

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References:

1 – Maddox, Robert A. Bulletin – American Meteorological Society, “Focus on Forecasting,” November 1980.

2 – Reynold, Harold, “Mesoscale Convective Complex – An Overview”, 1990

3 – National Transportation Safety Board Aircraft Accident Report, August 15, 1986.

4 – https://weather.com/forecast/regional/news/plains-rain-flood-threat-wettest-may-ranking

5 – Maddox, Robert. A., and J. Michael Fritsch, Weatherwise, “A New Understanding of Thunderstorms-The Mesoscale Convective Complex,” 1984.

Featured Image: Keven Menard

Pilot Salary: What Is The Pay Like In Different Careers?

A pilot’s salary can vary just as they do with any other job. Experience plays a big role as far as what a pilot makes, mainly because the different companies and positions available depend on the experience of a pilot. First, if we look at what the different types of jobs there are for pilots, then we can begin to narrow down the pilot salary range. Then when we look inside each job, we can see what affects the pay of the pilot at that point, whether it be experience within that company, the state of the economy, or other factors.

There are many opportunities for a pilot such as flight instruction, agriculture (crop dusting), regional and mainline airlines, corporate, shared operations and even tour guides. Jobs such as flight instructing, tour guides and even regional airlines tend to be on the lower end of the pilot salary scale. The instructing and touring jobs are generally for newer pilots to build their time while making some money. Hourly, they usually make what seems to be good money, anywhere from $15 to $40 dollars an hour, depending on where they work and level of experience. However, although that sounds like a good amount of money, an instructor or even a tour guide makes money when the propeller of the aircraft is moving. So, for every hour in the plane or helicopter, there is probably at least another hour to two hours spent preparing for that flight. For 8 hours of pay, at least 15 to 16 hours is actually worked. It is generally too expensive for most pilots to build flight hours on their own dime, so these types of jobs allow for them to work while reaching that goal.

If pursuing an airline career, regional airlines are generally the next step. And though pilots have to have a specific number of flight hours to be hired on, they are on the lower end of the pilot salary scale. In many cases, they have been known to pay less than flight instructing. Although regionals have been increasing their initial pay from what it once was, it can still be difficult for a pilot. Depending on the airline, starting pay can range from $22,000 to $38,000 annually. The pay does increase as more time is put in as well as upgrades and a captain can potentially make $80,000 a year flying for regional airlines.

A Boeing 747 landing at an airport -

Photo by Mike

Once a person builds their time and experience within a regional airline and is able to get on with a major airline such as Delta, American or United, the pay increases. For a pilot who has dreams of flying the big commercial airlines, working their way up to the majors is a long and hard process but if they get there, it’s generally very worth it. Major airlines set starting pay for first officers at around $60,000 to $80,000 yearly. Pay here will also continue to increase over time, of course, and a captain could make over $150,000 a year, depending on the airline. Another job on the higher end of the pilot salary scale is flying for UPS or FedEx or one of the major cargo companies. They tend to choose experienced pilots, who are paid well, and don’t have to deal with the passenger side of aviation. The average pay for a cargo pilot is in the neighborhood of $150,000. These positions, though they come with long hours and other considerations, tend to be desired due to the pay and passenger-less element.

Airlines and cargo are not the only opportunities for a higher pilot salary. Many large companies have their own aircraft and pilots can fly on the corporate side of things. The flying is different in that they do not necessarily have a set schedule and many times are on call. Salaries can range widely within this type of flying, based on the company and type of aircraft, but with the right set-up, pilots can make a good amount. The downside with corporate flying is there is usually very little room to grow. Once a person has reached captain, they have maxed out their potential within that company. So with each job, it really depends on where a person is at in their life as far as meeting their expectations and desires. A large part of this is the company and how much they value their employees. There are many corporate type operations where pilots make $40,000 to $50,000, with no real chance of an increase. Those operations tend to have a revolving door and don’t care as much about keeping the same pilots. Other companies can pay $80,000 to $120,000 and possibly as much as $190,000 for a Gulfstream 650 pilot, according to a 2014 survey conducted by Professional Pilot magazine. They value their pilots, but also rely on them heavily and fly them often. And with more money can come longer flights and more time away from home, though it can also mean more time off and more opportunity to travel outside of work. So just like aviation in general, the choice is up to each person with the effort they want to apply and the sacrifice they want to make as they tackle a new position.

As with any other job, aviation is affected by the economy. When the economy is booming, airlines are branching out, more flying is being done, and more people are learning to fly. When the economy begins to suffer, so does the flying. The price of everything goes up except for pilot salaries. So where “X” amount of money was once a great income, it may now be just enough to live off with no extras. Pilots begin to weigh the benefits to the negatives and decide if flying is really for them in those types of situations. If a pilot has a true passion for the skies, then the pay might not be the most important thing to them. However, everyone has to be able to survive off the income they make working so it is up to each individual person to figure out what their limits and desires are and head down that path.

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The Dangers of a Falsified Pilot Logbook

Avoid rattlesnakes and falsified flight log books. Each has a nasty disposition and sharp fangs that bite.

Vern Weiss

In August 2012, a Federal Court in Des Moines, Iowa sentenced a pilot to 4 years probation and fined him for falsifying his pilot logbook hours when going for an FAA instrument rating.1

Federal court! We’re not talking about something that can be taken lightly. It would be bad enough to be taken to task with an FAA action but when you’re hauled into Federal court, you’re really in a big-time quagmire.

In the FAA’s eyes, forgery of a certificate is on a par with air piracy and it is not treated as a simple administrative action. In fact, it is considered a criminal act and the US Department of Justice gets involved. The “bible” used by FAA inspectors is called “FSIMS” which stands for Flight Standards Information System. This manual guides FAA inspectors as to how to handle things that can come up within the scope of conducting their duties. Here’s what it says an inspector should do when an altered certificate is detected: “An inspector should never attempt to confiscate a suspected forged, fraudulent, or counterfeit certificate. Since fraudulent certificates are sometimes used for criminal activities, the person in possession of this certificate may be armed and dangerous. If an inspector suspects that an airman certificate is counterfeit or forged, the inspector should immediately contact the Investigations and Security Branch of the Regional Civil Aviation Security Division or a local law enforcement officer.2

Is the inspector really in the restroom or did he leave the room to phone the cops?

In recent years more and more things aviation matters are falling within the purview of the Department of Justice, including mistruths of all kinds, and things like pilot logbook falsification are becoming criminal acts.

Over in FAR §61.59 the nitty-gritty is laid out for us regarding falsification of a pilot logbook: It’s defined as “Any fraudulent or intentionally false entry in any logbook, record, or report that is required to be kept, made, or used to show compliance with any requirement for the issuance or exercise of the privileges of any certificate, rating, or authorization under this part.” It further warns that “The commission (of such an act) is a basis for suspending or revoking any airman certificate, rating, or authorization held by that person.

But beyond the administrative laws of the FAA, let’s consider how it might affect a pilot in his or her career. When you’re hired by a commercial operator you will usually be required to bring your pilot logbook(s) to the interview. Very often, there is one person in the interview team who thumbs through your logbook. Although they likely do not have the time to actually total up all the columns and determine if the hours stated are accurate, they more often are picking out select flights you made which will surface later on in the interview. For instance, 3 years ago there might be a flight in a King Air from Austin, Texas to Little Rock, Arkansas. During the interview, you’re asked if you have any turboprop time and you naturally will say yes. They’ll probe a bit more: “How long ago was this?” “Was it corporate or Part 135?” Who was this for?” They’re zeroing in on one of the details they’ve found and seeing if you are digging yourself a hole that you cannot climb out of or if you’re verifying that the ground is level before building a relationship with them. They may check out the tail number, who owned it and contact the company. If the company never heard of you, you just wasted your time interviewing with them.

There are other ways a falsified pilot logbook can be detected. We’ve all had less-than-sterling simulator check-rides but when someone claims an enormous amount of flight time and flies like a beginner, the logbook numbers become suspect.

Insurance companies have become ravenous vultures of data mining. When you go to work for a company, you will probably have to fill out a form for their insurer and flight time totals will be asked. This data will be entered and disseminated so if you were with Company “A” for six months and joined them with 3,000 hours but when Company “B” offered you a job you entered 6,000 hours, it will flag. You’ll also be tagged as a liar and may have problems for years to come getting an insurance company to believe you are who you are.

When there is an accident which ends up in a civil court proceeding or in a lawsuit, you can bet your logbooks will be subpoenaed and the lawyers will pour over them carefully. The ramifications that come out of this are obvious and not too pretty.

Some years ago I worked for a large pilot training school. Prior to signing anyone off for a check-ride, we had a dedicated session we called “the preflight.” “The preflight” had nothing to do with checking fuel and making sure the wings were attached but, instead, was the administrative portion of signing someone off for their check-ride. During this period, the instructor meticulously went through all the paperwork (this was prior to the implementation of the FAA’s IACRA system) including the student’s logbook(s) and confirmed all the hourly requirements had been achieved and proper endorsements made. One day a gentleman appeared at the school to train for an instrument rating. He carried a brown paper grocery sack with him and in that sack were hundreds of pieces of paper. Every flight of his piloting career was detailed on a small scrap of paper. Every training session he had experienced was documented on a valid receipt. That was his log and it was perfectly legal. Perhaps not every examiner would have been as patient with him as the one used by my flight school but he got through it even by using his non-traditional log-keeping system.

Today such a log style would probably not work. Even though you only have to log those flights that are required to show currency or for purposes of meeting the requirements of an FAA certificate or rating, a sloppy logbook reflects badly on the pilot whether you’re defending yourself in a serious legal entanglement or trying to woo an airline to hire you.

Your pilot logbook should be a matter of professional pride and visible proof of your integrity. Both things are as important for a pilot as safety and competence.

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Footnotes and References:

1 – Pilot Sentenced For Making False Statements In His FAA Flight Logbook

2 – Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) 8900.1 09/13/2007 Para. 5-193 SUSPECTED COUNTERFEITING, Federal Aviation Administration.

Rules of Thumb That Make Flying Planes Easier

You can make flying planes a little easier by applying a few different rules of thumb provided below.

Vern Weiss

There’s a lot of minutia and head work involved in flying planes and sometimes a pilot can get bogged down with the calculations and mental gymnastics required. “East is least and West is best” and “Accelerate – North, Decelerate – South” come to mind. Thank goodness they came up with those to aid in flying planes, or I would still be studying for my private pilot written exam.

My particular annoyance is the Metric system’s ornery method of measuring temperature. Fortunately, some angel from Heaven was sent to give us, “Double it and add thirty.” So if I need to convert 30 degrees Centigrade to Fahrenheit it becomes 30 x 2 plus 30 equals 90. It actually comes to 86 degrees Fahrenheit so I must offer this caveat about all pilot rules of thumb: A rule of thumb is a “broad application that is not intended to be accurate or reliable for every situation. It is an easily learned and easily applied procedure for approximately calculating or recalling some value, or for making some determination.1

Hydroplaning

Say, let’s go hydroplaning today! The runway is wet and we are bored so let’s inject a little excitement into a hum-drum afternoon.

Hydroplaning occurs when a boundary layer of water prevents a tire from making direct contact with a hard surface and the result can be the loss of steering control and braking. The formula for computing the minimum speed at which a tire hydroplanes would fill two pages of lined filler paper. However Professor Tom Thumb created his Rule of Thumb and shrunk the arduous calculations down to simply “the square root of the tire pressure times 9.” Thank you, Professor Thumb. (Actually, it is known as Horne’s equation.) This means that if your tire has 45 PSI in the nose and 38 PSI in the main tires, the nose will start hydroplaning at 60 knots and the mains will start hydroplaning at 55 knots. Yes, you are seeing that correctly; your mains will be hydroplaning before your nose as you accelerate and they will continue to hydroplane after your nose has stopped as you decelerate. This rule of thumb works no matter if you have air or nitrogen in your tires. It can also be applied to your automobile tires and give you an edge when the highway is wet enabling you to keep your speed below the threshold of where you’ll start hydroplaning. (i.e. tires inflated to 35 PSI even though they may be 44 PSI-rated tires will begin hydroplaning at 65 knots (74.8 MPH). This is a rule of thumb only. There are all kinds of tires, type H, radial-belted and bias-ply. Bias-ply tires used on aircraft have the highest speeds before they’ll hydroplane. Type H and radial-belted tires hydroplane at lower speeds (the formula “square root of the tire pressure times 6” should be used).

Rolling Out of a Turn

A well-known rule of thumb for flying planes you may have learned in the simulator is when to begin rolling out of a turn to straight-and-level and when to level out from a descent. A cozy, comfy roll-out from a turn is simply half your angle of bank. If your bank is 15 degrees, start your roll-out 7 1/2 degrees before your desired heading. If your bank is 45 degrees, start your roll-out 22 1/2 degrees before your heading. Make sure it is twenty-two AND A HALF degrees! Not 22-1/4 or 22- 3/8, but 22 and a half! Heh heh…I’m having a little fun with you.

As for descending, if you prefer not to undershoot…then overshoot…then dive back down like a porpoise at Sea World, start your level-out at your rate of descent divided by 10. If you’re descending at 1,000 feet per minute, start leveling out 100 feet before your altitude. Pretty simple, eh?

Crossing Restriction Clearance

When flying planes, pilots are frequently called upon to participate in The Dreaded Crossing Restriction clearance from ATC. “Pterodactyl Two-Eight-X Ray, Descend to 7,000 feet and cross 10 miles south of Earwax VOR at 2,000 feet.” H-m-m-m. So you hustle down to 7,000 because that’s where he wants you to be. Now you have to figure out when to start your descent from 7,000 to 2,000. This “rule of thumb” is predicated on ATC’s expectation that you will descend at an angle of 3 degrees which is comfortable for any aircraft. (By virtue of their speed, jet aircraft attain this rate at approximately 2,000 FPM). It’s simple. Drop the last 3 zeros of the altitude change required. Multiply this number by 3. This figure represents the number in miles prior to the crossing fix necessary to safely arrive at the new assigned altitude. In our example, you are going from 7,000 to 2,000 feet which is an altitude change of 4,000 feet. Drop the 3 zeroes to get “4.” Multiple “4” by the constant “3” to get 12. To make this crossing restriction you will start your descent NO LESS than 12 miles from the VOR. Actually, I add an extra buffer of 5 and would start my descent when I was 17 miles from the VOR. I don’t like filling out NASA reports nor do I wish to get any letters from the FAA.

Here’s a thought to ponder: Contemporary airplanes are now equipped with super-colossal computers that can figure this out for you. In fact, these FMS systems will alert you when to start down and even provide you with a virtual “glide slope” to ensure arriving at the desired point at the correct altitude. This is handy when all the data is already plugged into your FMS but what happens when it isn’t? When you’re given an unexpected crossing altitude you have the additional task of key-punching in all the data. That takes time and I have seen so many pilots in the simulator miss their crossing restrictions because they were fat-fingering buttons and trying to get their FMS programmed. Make it easy on yourself. You know your “X” miles from the VOR and the controller wants you at such-and-such altitude when you’re “Y” miles…do it in your head and it will take you less than ten seconds to compute instead of a minute or more of pirouetting your fingers around the FMS keyboard. Even when I already have the crossing restriction programmed into an FMS I still do it in my head as a double check that all the data-based algorithms are correct (and I have seen them not so).

Amount of Fuel

So you land and you gotta buy fuel so the petroleum barons can afford to own nine luxury homes throughout the world. There are two ways to go about this. You can dig your calculator out of your bag and make work for yourself…or you can take the easy way out and call on ol’ Professor Thumb.

It’s simple when your airplane registers in gallons. If you land and your 50 gallon tank is half- full and you want it three-quarters full you tell them you need 12 or 13 gallons. But what happens when you’re flyin’ with the Big Dogs and you no longer deal in gallons? Large recips and turbine aircraft generally have their fuel metering in pounds. But yet, FBOs deal in selling gallons.

There are two ways to do this: You can divide what you want by 6.79 pounds which will derive the number of gallons you need (ugh) or…you can use Professor Thumb’s Handy Dandy Instant Solution.

  • A. You subtract the fuel you have in the tank from the total fuel you want to have.
  • B. Divide that number in half.
  • C. Then add the half (B) to the number you started out with (A).
  • D. Drop the last zero.

The answer is the number of gallons to buy.

Say you landed with 1,000 pounds of fuel and you want to leave with 3,000 pounds of fuel. A= 2,000 B= 1,000 C= 3,000 D= 300 gallons

Don’t believe me? Try it in your head. You landed with 1,600 pounds of fuel and want to leave with 2,600 pounds. How much fuel do you order?

Did you say the amount in the footnote below?2  Well done.

In countries such as Canada they believe in liters and the rule of thumb for that is simply multiplying the number of gallons times 4 and that’s close enough. Fuel is quite variable and its density changes with temperature. But you’re an earnest and thorough pilot and after fueling you always check the fuel gauge before the fueler disconnects. If it doesn’t show you what you need, you add more. Duh.

If you have fuel tanks in each wing you obviously further divide your total by two and, instead of “150 gallons” it becomes “75 gallons per side” (except if the FBO has a promotion giving away something cool with a fuel purchase of 200 gallons or more then the minimum fuel order HAS to be 200 gallons).

These are just a few of the “cheats” pilots have devised to make the job of flying planes simpler. Ball-parking is acceptable so long as, when doing it, you cross check your answers with other available cues.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

References and Footnotes:

1 – Thank you, Wikipedia.

2 – 150 gallons.

Featured Image: Kent Wien

A Simple Way For Pilots To Combat Aviation Fatigue

Unsolved Issues: Part V, Amber Berlin

To read Part 1, click here, Part 2, click here, Part 3, click here, and Part 4, click here.

Are you tired? Maybe you need a nap.

Naps decrease the homeostatic drive for sleep by reducing the number of hours continuously awake, which results in a greater ability to focus. It’s like a reboot for your brain, shutting down the conscious processes of thought in favor of cellular recovery and the cleanup of waste chemicals. Studies indicate pilots afforded sleep during in-flight crew rest performed better on cognitive tests than those pilots who were only given a rest period where sleep was not permitted. But to most effectively combat aviation fatigue, when is the best time of day to take a nap? And how long should you nap to get the most benefit?

The best time of day to nap is during a Window of Circadian Low. The Window of Circadian Low refers to a specific time of day within the 24-hour circadian cycle in which subjects are primed for sleep. During times of circadian peak, the body’s physiological processes are programmed for an increased level of wakefulness. Conversely, during dips in the circadian cycle the body is gearing down for sleep.

Staying awake during a Window of Circadian Low can cause an increased level of fatigue because the pilot is working against the physiological processes which are preparing for sleep. Quite literally, you are fighting against your body to stay awake. Within the circadian cycle, researchers have identified two Windows of Circadian Low: at approximately 3am-5am and 3pm-5pm (Rosekind, Co, Gregory, and Miller, 2000). Many of us struggle through the afternoon hours yawning and drinking coffee, so if you get the opportunity, take advantage of the 3pm circadian siesta. Studies have also shown operations during a Window of Circadian Low can result in reductions in performance and alertness and increases in micro sleeps and errors (Rosekind, Gander, Connell, & Co, 2001; Caldwell et al., 2006).

The normal sleep cycle runs approximately 90 minutes and is comprised of sleep stages 1-4 and rapid-eye-movement (REM). Getting through an entire sleep cycle is a good idea, however, there are hazards to sleeping too long on your nap. Sleep inertia is defined by the Federal Aviation Administration as “… a period of impaired performance and reduced vigilance following awakening from the regular sleep episode or nap. This impairment may be severe, last from minutes to hours, and be accompanied by micro-sleep episodes” (FAA, 2010). Otherwise known as grogginess, sleep inertia can make waking up from your nap an undesirable experience as you try to get your bearings.

If you can’t get the full sleep cycle in, aim for less than 45 minutes, which reduces the occurrence of sleep inertia. By avoiding the deeper stages of sleep, you can also avoid the grogginess that comes with waking up in them. But remember, the best recovery happens in those final sleep stages and it’s important to spend as much time there as possible.

Flying unconscious….have you done it lately? Find out how you can combat aviation fatigue and this zombie-like behavior in the next Unsolved Issues: Part VI – Nocturnal Window of Unconscious Flight.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

References:

Caldwell, J., Mallis, M., Colletti, L., Oyung, R., Brandt, S., Arsintescu L., . . . & Chapman, P. (2006). The Effects of Ultra-Long-Range Flights on the Alertness and Performance of Aviators. NASA/TM-2006-213484.

Federal Aviation Administration (2010). Advisory Circular. Basics of Aviation Fatigue. AC No. 120-100.

Rosekind, M., Co, E., Gregory, K., and Miller, D. (2000). Crew Factors in Flight Operations XIII: A Survey of Fatigue Factors in Corporate/Executive Aviation Operations. NASA/TM–2000-209610.

Rosekind, M., Gander, P., Connell, L. and Co, E. (2001). Crew Factors in Flight Operations X: Alertness Management in Flight Operations Education Module. NASA/TM-2001-211385/DOT/FAA/AR-01-01.

Featured Image: Kent Wien

Can You Fly For Compensation With a Private Pilot Certificate?

A Private Pilot Certificate doesn’t necessarily preclude earning money in aviation.

Vern Weiss

No person who holds a private pilot certificate may act as pilot in command of an aircraft that is carrying passengers or property for compensation or hire, nor may that person, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft.

That’s what FAR §61.113 says and there’s no way to dance around it. By “compensation” we’re not just referring to money but, instead, anything of value.

This article should NOT be construed as legal advice. If you’ve got an idea to conduct operations (or validate them) as a private pilot certificate holder, the FAA and proper aviation legal counsel1 should be sought.

However the FARs do allow a certain degree of accommodation so long as a private pilot is paid by his or her business or employer and the flight is only incidental to that business or employment and the aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire.

Doctor Franklin owns a Beech Bonanza (as required of all doctors who are pilots). Ol’ Doc Franklin wants to attend the Annual Physicians’ Conference on Obscene Medical Fees in Atlanta. His partner, Doctor Taylor wants to go along. Both men are salaried and flying on company time. Is this legal pursuant to FAR 61.113? Of course it is. But let’s say Doctor Phillips wants to ride along and offers to pay Doc Franklin for flying him to the conference. Uh-uh. No-can-do! Doc Franklin can split the cost of the aircraft expense with the other two doctors but that is as far as it can go.

The Federal Aviation Regulations are quite explicit about what can and can’t be done with a private pilot certificate. One thing that a private pilot can do is give airplane rides for a charitable event or non-profit organization. However, there are some additional restrictions found in FAR 91.146 that must be met.

A private pilot may accept reimbursement of expenses involved in search-and-rescue operations under the auspices of a governmental body. Fortunately, search-and-rescue operations are not an everyday occurrence so let’s talk about careers in which you can fly as a pilot and receive pay.

Probably the most popular means of employment permitting you to fly and accept compensation is that of an aircraft salesperson. The regs prohibit you from such gainful employment until you have accumulated 200 hours. But after you’ve got 200 hours total time you can demonstrate an aircraft in flight to a prospective buyer while making money to do it.

Do you have a glider club nearby? Once you accrue 100 hours and meet the requirements of FAR §61.69 you can tow gliders or non-powered ultra light aircraft and receive compensation for your services.

A light sport aircraft on the runway

Photo by: Michael Tefft

Want to be a test pilot? According to the FARs, under FAR Part 21 a private pilot may act as pilot in command for purposes of production flight testing light-sport aircraft to be certificated in the light-sport category.

The definition of what constitutes a violation has ricocheted back and forth between the courts and the FAA for years. Remember earlier I said compensation is considered anything of value? According to the feds, this also means that a private pilot cannot barter pilot services for goods or services. “If you’ll fly me to Oshkosh this summer I’ll paint your garage…or give you my tickets to Saturday’s Cardinals-Phillies game…or…” Sorry. It’s all verboten.

Although it is not flying per se, a private pilot can use the certificate for many aviation-related careers and some of them are quite lucrative. Visit any of the Internet job boards and type “private pilot” into the search window. You’ll find good-paying jobs looking for people with a private pilot certificate in software development, avionics engineering and development, aviation product sales, airport management, FBO management and even in the “dark side” of aviation (as far as pilots are concerned these days) “flying” UAVs. The private pilot certificate is a highly sought after commodity and can link your other professional skills with positions that are allied to flying.

Other areas in which private pilots have tried to skirt the regs is by doing aerial photography and pipeline/power line patrol flying. Well-known aviation attorney and writer John Yodice2 tells of one legal decision in which an attempt to nullify the restriction didn’t work. An employee of a power company proposed to his employer that he replace the company contractor used to fly patrols of its power lines. The rule of law is that the flying services must be incidental to the service being provided and the FAA said that since aerial power line patrol operations are a foreseeable and normal part of the power business, even if relatively infrequent, they are therefore not incidental. The power company must use commercially certificated pilots.

Careful of the “Smoking Gun”

Do private pilots fly for compensation and outside of the law? You bet. And some of them get away with it for a long time. There also have been local FBOs selling charters on their airplanes that do not hold Part 135 certificates and they merrily have got away with it; for a time. But run an airplane off a slick runway, clip a fuel truck with a wing or blow a tire on landing and the feds are going to put every aspect of your flight under their microscope. You don’t want it to surface that you received compensation for flying contrary to the FARs because it will become most unsavory for you. The FAA generally doesn’t fine pilots for violations. They go after certificate actions, which means suspensions or in extreme cases, revocation. More and more enforcement actions are blended into the Department of Justice these days so it isn’t worth making yourself vulnerable.

Keep your nose clean.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Footnotes and References:

1 – I cannot stress strongly enough “proper aviation legal counsel.” There are attorneys running around out there who advertise in the Yellow Pages® that they are “aviation attorneys.” Was it Shakespeare that said, “A lawyer who holds a private pilot certificate does not an aviation attorney make?” Get recommendations and after talking to the attorney, if you are not dazzled by his or her aviation knowledge and expertise, run and don’t look back. I had to explain to one of those so-called “aviation attorneys” one time the difference between GMT/UTC and local time and that altitudes above 17,999 feet are called “flight levels.”

2 – Aircraft Owner’s & Pilot’s Association AOPA Pilot, “Interpreting the rules on business flying” John Yodice, October 1997

When To Declare an In-Flight Emergency

Declaring an in-flight emergency is not something to take lightly. Play this trump card if you need it but only if you need it.

Vern Weiss

What is an emergency? The FAA defines it as a “distress or urgency condition.” H-m-m-m…so would “I have to get home because the Super Bowl starts in ten minutes” qualify?” A sage old instructor once told me that some pilots make an emergency out of a mag check while others run out of fuel and merely request a lower altitude.

Is It a “Get Out of Jail” Card?

Let’s see if there’s any wiggle-room afforded pilots by the FAA regulations:

§ 91.3(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.

§ 91.123(a) When an ATC clearance has been obtained, no pilot in command may deviate from that clearance unless an amended clearance is obtained, an emergency exists, or the deviation is in response to a traffic alert and collision avoidance system resolution advisory. However, except in Class A airspace, a pilot may cancel an IFR flight plan if the operation is being conducted in VFR weather conditions. When a pilot is uncertain of an ATC clearance, that pilot shall immediately request clarification from ATC.

(b) Except in an emergency, no person may operate an aircraft contrary to an ATC instruction in an area in which air traffic control is exercised.

…sounds pretty good on first glance. But let’s dig a little further…

The salient point made in FAR 91.3 is with the words “immediate action.” According to aviation attorney Gregory Reigel, “An emergency is a situation that could jeopardize the safety of a flight. The emergency situation cannot be of the PIC’s own making. That is, it must be unforeseen and unavoidable by the exercise of sound judgment. The PIC is responsible for making the determination as to whether an emergency exists and has the authority to take responsive action.” Attorney Reigel continues, “a PIC does not necessarily have to advise ATC of the existence of an emergency. Although in practice, declaring an emergency to ATC, if you are able, is a good idea since ATC will then give you the benefit of priority handling and additional assistance that may be needed to handle the emergency. that are reasonable under the circumstances.1

So we cannot infer from FAR 91.3 that boneheaded judgment is washed away by that permissive reg. In fact, depending on the extent of attention and disruption there probably WILL be an investigation and probably WILL be paperwork.

So when we declare an in-flight emergency, what happens? For one thing, WE might not even be the ones declaring an emergency! It can be declared for us. In addition to the pilot(s) an emergency can be declared by dispatch personnel, air traffic controllers, and company representatives. The latter may be done without the flight crew even knowing it. When an aircraft is in trouble, every resource becomes available to provide whatever assistance is needed to bring the aircraft safely back to Earth. This includes radar and DF facilities of both the ARTCC system and the US military and other governmental agencies such as the FCC and TSA.

After making such a declaration, the controller may prompt you to change your transponder to 7700. He may not do this and it’s up to you to switch over yourself.

Air traffic controllers begin routing all other aircraft so as to provide priority handling of the aircraft in distress. The controller’s handbook states that a controller is to “give the maximum amount of assistance judged to be necessary.” In addition, pilots can refuse or accept suggested or ATC instructed actions in the interest of safety. It is also incumbent on the pilots to communicate direness of a situation if they feel a controller is giving them an inappropriate command.

Important: Once an emergency is declared it can be withdrawn. Of course, whether the flight continues to land under an emergency declaration or not there will probably still be paperwork, depending on a lot of variables.

FAR § 91.3 (c) Each pilot in command who deviates from a rule under paragraph (b) of this section shall, upon the request of the Administrator, send a written report of that deviation to the Administrator.

Under Part 121:

FAR §121.557 (c) Whenever a pilot in command or dispatcher exercises emergency authority…The person declaring the emergency shall send a written report of any deviation through the certificate holder’s operations manager to the Administrator.

The in-flight emergency declaration is a tool to be used without fear of reprisal. The intent of the regulation is to ensure that a pilot will handle an emergency to whatever extent is necessary without fear of violation. One FAA inspector is quoted as saying, “I’ve never seen a pilot violated for deviating from a regulation when that pilot has either declared an emergency OR has stipulated in ANY written response to the FAA that an emergency existed at the time of the deviation.2

In my career, I have declared an emergency on several occasions due to passengers experiencing medical problems. Even though it was in busy Class B airspace with a conga-line of other aircraft ahead of me on the approach, they all were held and we rocketed past them to the waiting ambulance on the ground and I’ve never been asked to submit any paperwork.

There are several tricks pilots use to circumvent declaring an in-flight emergency. Telling ATC you are “fuel critical” is not an emergency declaration. Advising the controller you’d “appreciate expediting the approach because we’re working on a problem” isn’t an emergency declaration. Declared emergency help is not provided unless a declaration is made and such should be the case only when it is possible or probable that there may be injury or loss of life. It is not used when you’re in a situation where you think you possibly could run low on fuel.

If you declare an emergency and must deviate from any regulation, just do it. You don’t have to tell ATC anything. Once an emergency is declared your radar symbol changes and AIRCRAFT EMERGENCY appears adjacent to your symbol on the controller’s screen. The controller will know you’re doing the best you can and you have free berth to use any judgment you feel is necessary.

I have heard pilots declare an emergency many times and the radio becomes eerily silent from that moment on. Other aircraft on the frequency are all listening intently to the unfolding drama. Once the distressed aircraft lands safely the controller often says something like, “Baron Six-Eight X-Ray, turn left at Charlie and contact ground. Good job.”

“Good job” are the words you want to hear after declaring an emergency and the pilot will often respond, “Back at-cha.”

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338,, or click here to start a live chat with us.

References:

1 – Pilot In Command: The Ultimate Authority and Ultimately Responsible

2 – Declaring an Emergency – Fact and Fiction

Featured Image: Steve Jurvetson

What To Look For In a Helicopter Flight School

When looking for a helicopter flight school, here are the 3 “W’s” you should pay attention to.

Margie O’Connor

You are outside enjoying the gentle breeze of a pure, blue-sky day when up above you hear the wap-wap-wap of a helicopter as it flies overhead. For a moment, you fixate on the helicopter, amazed at the way it flies and are immediately inspired to find a helicopter flight school. The yearning to fly a helicopter is strong. And so your search begins.

Beginning your rotorcraft journey can be daunting but with a little exploration and persistence, you will find the helicopter flight school that fits perfectly with your desires, budget and time.

The “What”

Helicopters-plain and simple. Maybe you found the helicopter’s ability to hover or fly in all directions, hypnotic. Or maybe you are a fixed-wing pilot intrigued by how the helicopter flies differently. For me, it was a little of both and then some. I first felt the power of a helicopter as it landed at the same airport I was training for my fixed-wing Private Pilot’s License. Standing on the airport ramp, I felt the rush of air from the rotor blades envelop me as if calling me to join in this rapture.

Aside from aerodynamics and their unique appeal, helicopters vary in many of the same ways that airplanes do. Some have one engine, like the Robinson R22, while others sport twin engines, such as the Bell 407. A helicopter flight school outfitted with a wide range of rotorcraft, like Upper Limit Aviation, can better fulfill the pilot’s demand for advanced ratings or operations, like high altitude or mountain flight.

The “Why”

A good place to start your search is by asking yourself why you want to fly a helicopter. Quite possibly, your goals are long-term and a helicopter profession is in your future. Helicopter jobs range from instructing to more advanced, like serving the emergency medical industry.
Maybe you desire a degree to complement your helicopter flight certificate. Some helicopter flight schools offer degree programs that coincide with flight training. Specifically tailored classes, like weather or helicopter systems, augment flight line learning with some degree programs even available online.

Or perhaps you simply covet the helicopter’s freedom to traverse across the skies and whisk just above the treetops. Does the sound of the rotor blades beating the sky instill a sense of awe in you? That same wonder alone has propelled many before you to fulfill their dream of flight at a helicopter flight school.

The “Where”

Several options exist for obtaining a helicopter license but not all may be in alignment with your goals. Attending military helicopter flight training, I graduated with a Commercial Rotary Wing license in just over a year but this route requires you serve an additional 6 years following graduation, so it’s not for everyone.

Civilian helicopter flight schools, like Upper Limit Aviation, provide outstanding opportunities for reaching your goals, no matter how in-depth, with typical progression from Private through Commercial doable in under 2 years.

Not only do helicopter flight schools provide a plentiful variety of helicopters but a generous pool of flight instructors from which to choose. And don’t forget about the plethora of financial assistance or payment plans to help make your dream of helicopter flight a reality.
Paramount in your decision when selecting a helicopter flight school is quality. Where will you receive the best training, with dedicated instructors, well-maintained helicopters and opportunities for advancement? Without careful consideration of these factors, you could find yourself frustrated and spending much more than anticipated.

So, although you can find helicopter flight schools in most states across the nation, be wary of those who offer training at what seems to be ridiculously low prices (if it seems too good to be true, it probably is). Don’t sacrifice quality for cost and keep in mind that cheaper is not always better. If you save money initially yet end up having to pay for additional lessons because the quality of instruction was lacking, you could end up paying more in the end.

Look at the total package in deciding on the best fitting helicopter flight school for you. After all, you deserve the best, least frustrating path when pursuing your dreams of learning to fly a helicopter. Hopefully, your first time at the controls will instill the same euphoric sense of joy I experienced – my flight instructor said I never quit smiling for the duration of my first flight – truly nothing more awesome than flying a helicopter.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Looking at Stress and Fatigue in Aviation

Unsolved Issues: Part IV, Amber Berlin

To read Part 1, click here, Part 2, click here and Part 3, click here.

Think you wouldn’t drink and fly a plane? You might be doing something similar without even realizing it. This article reveals the exact hour limit when your long day becomes intoxicating, and why you wouldn’t realize when it happens. Understanding your limits, and how they’re affected by stress and fatigue in aviation is knowledge that will make you a better pilot, and may even save your life.

Scientists currently believe that stress and fatigue in aviation are developed from a variety of sources, and no one is immune from them. Although the effects on the body are different, excessive exposure to mental stimulation produces the same measurable results as extensive manual labor and leads to a decrease in the ability to carry out tasks. (FAA Publication, Medical Facts for Pilots, 2002). Any person operating in a fatigued condition, regardless of the cause of fatigue, will exhibit the same problems.

Historically, research indicates obtaining adequate sleep is the best way to prevent or resolve stress and fatigue in aviation. However, because of the complex nature of the body’s response to a variety of factors other than sleep deprivation, adequate sleep is not to be considered a complete solution in fatigue management. Because of the dynamic environments in which we operate, our body’s experience a myriad of situations and events which lead to the effects of fatigue. Sleep deprivation directly contributes to fatigue because the body does the majority of its recovery during sleep.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation refers to no sleep or a reduction in the usual total sleep time. Various amounts of sleep deprivation have shown to reduce cognitive function and can negatively impact performance levels. Sleep deprivation affects the performance of sustained attention tasks and manifested itself in a higher number of omission errors (Fafrowicz et al., 2010). These omission errors, defined as “lapsing or failing to respond in a timely fashion to a presented stimulus”, are related to micro sleeps and increase under high fatigue conditions (p.940).

Durmer and Dinges (2005) conducted several partial sleep deprivation studies, which indicate a suboptimal sleep dose has measurable effects on concentration and the performance of cognitive tasks. Reports have shown that the average sleep obtained by a pilot is approximately 6 hours per night. Over a two-week span, the body’s response to sleeping only 6 hours per night is similar in cognitive ability to operating under an entire night of sleep loss. Think about this for a moment…let it sink in…the average pilot is operating on a day-to-day basis, flying their aircraft with the same cognitive ability as if they’ve just been awake all night.

For those individuals receiving only 4 hours of sleep during the same span, the cognitive effects are comparable to an entire weekend of sleep loss (Durmer and Dinges, 2005). Hopefully, you are all getting more than 4 hours a night. While no cognitive deficits occurred for 8 hours of sleep per night, 1 hour of sleep loss per night causes reduced waking alertness, and 2 hours of sleep loss can “significantly affect both alertness and performance” (Rosekind, Co, Gregory, and Miller, 2000, p,4). These studies have shown there is a consistent decline in cognitive ability due to sleep loss and denote the importance of attaining the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night.

It is also known that subjective reports of fatigue are typically underestimated, as individuals “are often sleepier than they report” (Overton and Frazer, 2013, p.219). Studies using physiological measures of sleepiness have shown that people can, “report a high level of alertness during the day and yet still exhibit significant physiological sleepiness” (Neri, Dinges, and Rosekind, 1997, p.11). This alludes to the role of environmental stimulation in the individual perception of stress and fatigue in aviation and identifies a cognitive disassociation between how the subject feels and their actual physiological state. This disassociation inhibits the pilot from realizing when they are fatigued, thereby making it impossible to accurately report their fatigue level. If you ask the pilot, they will feel rested enough to fly, even if they are not. Without as much environmental stimulation, such as in the early hours of the morning, their actual level of physiological sleepiness may make it impossible to stay awake.

Kuo et al. (1998) found that “during chronic partial sleep deprivation, subjective sleepiness increased during the first week, but decreased during the second week, suggesting that subjects believed they were adapting to the effects of sleep loss, whereas performance measures indicated that they were not: (Kloss, Szuba, and Dinges, 2012, p.1900). Because of this illusion of adaptation to the effects of chronic partial sleep deprivation, pilots may believe they are fit for duty when in fact they are experiencing a dangerous level of fatigue. While most pilots are not subject to periods of acute total sleep deprivation, chronic partial sleep deprivation is a highly common occurrence in the aviation operational environment. Because of the effects of fatigue on perception, when “attempting to judge how sleepy an individual is, the worst person to ask is that individual” (Neri, Dinges, and Rosekind, 1997, p.11).

An American Airline flight departing LAX

Photo by: Job Garcia

Cumulative Sleep Loss

Another factor which must be considered is cumulative sleep loss, or sleep debt. Sleep debt is the accumulation of missed sleep over several days or weeks, which an individual has not had the opportunity to make up. Any sleep of less than 8 hours per night may result in a sleep debt. If you miss three hours of sleep on Wednesday, and one hour of sleep on Thursday, by Friday you are operating under 4 hours of missed sleep. According to one study, it takes more than the recommended 8 hours of sleep to make up a sleep debt, as sleeping 8 hours merely fulfills the daily requirement for sleep, thus “two nights of recovery sleep are typically needed to resume baseline levels of sleep structure and waking performance and alertness” (The Royal Aeronautical Society, n.d.).

Cumulative sleep loss can be any combination of total or partial sleep loss, and cognitive effects have been shown in as little as 1 hour of missed sleep per night. Studies have shown that “4 or more days of partial sleep restriction involving less than 7 hours sleep per night resulted in cumulative adverse effects on neurobehavioral functions” (Durmer and Dinges, 2005, p.123). Along with the increase in sleep debt, there is also an increase in attention lapses and daytime sleep propensity, and a decrease in cognitive speed and accuracy on working memory tasks (Van Dongen, Maislin, Mullington, & Dinges, 2003; Drake et al., 2001; Dinges et al., 1997; Belenky et al., 2003).

Hours of Continuous Wakefulness

Hours of Continuous Wakefulness refers to the number of hours since the last sleep episode. Durmer and Dinges (2005) suggested that there is a critical period of stable wake time within each circadian cycle, after which neurocognitive deficits occur. They have statistically estimated the optimal sleep time to be 8.16 hours, with the corresponding 15.84 hours of wakefulness completing the 24-hour circadian cycle (Durmer and Dinges, 2005).

According to current research, there is a drive for sleep which increases progressively with the duration of time the individual spends awake. In a study comparing the cognitive effects of this homeostatic sleep drive and the cognitive effects of alcohol, The Royal Aeronautical Society found, “after 17 hours of continuous wakefulness, cognitive psychomotor performance decreased to a level equivalent to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05%”, and “after 24 hours of continuous wakefulness performance was approximately equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10%” (n.d.). Additionally, NTSB investigations have found that flight crews on long duty days (a shift of more than 13 hours) exhibit a disproportionate amount of accidents when compared to those on short duty days (a shift of less than 13 hours) (Federal Aviation Administration, 2010).

The legal limit of alcohol intoxication to operate a vehicle in most States is 0.08%. To put it into perspective, if you have been awake for 17 hours, your brain responds as if you were over halfway drunk by vehicle standards, and over the limit to fly an aircraft. The federal blood alcohol limit for pilots is 0.04%. Should you be flying 17 hours after waking up? Absolutely not. This poses a problem for pilots working evening shifts, as they probably woke up early in the day, and were awake all day, and then started their shift, putting them in a situation where they are operating under the influence of fatigue. The FAA has taken a hard line against alcohol, adhering to the strict limit of 0.04%. Out of the thousands of pilots tested each year, only a few of them fail the breathalyzer, and alcohol-related crashes are rare. Since pilots cannot come to work drunk, it makes sense to limit their operational usefulness if they are known to have been awake for a duration in which intoxicating effects are present, regardless of the cause. Schedulers should also be aware of this limitation caused by stress and fatigue in aviation, and not assign pilots more flights than safety permits, based on the duration of time they’ve been awake.

Will a nap at noon be as good as a nap at 3pm? Find out as we continue our quest for cognitive excellence in Unsolved Issues: Part V – A Simple Way For Pilots To Address Aviation Fatigue.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

References:

Belenky, G., Wesesten, N.J., Thorne, D.R., Thomas, M.L., Sing, H., Redmond, D.P., …Balkin, T.J. (2003). Patterns of performance degradation and restoration during sleep restriction and subsequent recovery: a sleep dose-response study. Journal of Sleep Research 12, 1-12.

Dinges, D.F., Pack F., Williams, K., Gillen, K., Powell, J., Ott, G., …Pack, A. (1997). Cumulative sleepiness, mood disturbances, and psychomotor vigilance performance decrements during a week of sleep restricted to 4-5 hours per night. Sleep 1997; Apr 20(4):267-277

Drake, C., Roehrs T., Burduvali, E., Bonahoom. A., Rosekind, M., Roth, T. (2001) Effects of rapid versus slow accumulation of eight hours of sleep loss. Psychophysiology 2001;38: 979-987.

Durmer, J., Dinges, D. (2005). Neurocognitive Consequences of Sleep Deprivation. Indiana University School of Medicine.

FAA Publication. (2002). Medical Facts for Pilots. Federal Aviation Administration

Fafrowicz, M., Oginska, H., Mojsa-Kaja, J., Marek, T., Golonka, K., and Tucholska, K. (2010) Chronic Sleep Deficit and Performance of a Sustained Attention Task- an Electrooculography Study. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20636207

Federal Aviation Administration. (2010). Basics of Aviation Fatigue. AC No 120-100. Retrieved from http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC%20120-100.pdf

Kloss, J., Szuba, M., and David, D. (2012). Sleep Loss and Sleepiness: Physiological and Neurobehavioral Effects. Neuropsychopharmacology: The Fifth Generation of Progress. C130: 1895-1906.

Neri, D. F., Dinges, D. F., Rosekind, M. R. (1997). Sustained Carrier Operations: Sleep Loss, Performance, and Fatigue Countermeasures. Fatigue Countermeasures Program. NASA Ames Research Center.

Overton, J., Frazier, E. (2013). Safety and Quality in Medical Transport Systems: Creating an Effective Culture. Ashgate Publishing Ltd: England.

Rosekind, M., Co, E., Gregory, K., and Miller, D. (2000). Crew Factors in Flight Operations XIII: A Survey of Fatigue Factors in Corporate/Executive Aviation Operations. NASA/TM–2000-209610.

The Royal Aeronautical Society Publication.(n.d.). Fatigue and Duty time Limitations- An International Review. The Royal Aeronautical Society.

Van Dongen, H. P. A., Maislin, G., Mullington, J. M., and Dinges, D. F. (2003). The cumulative cost of additional wakefulness; Dose-response effects on neurobehavioral functions and sleep physiology from chronic sleep restriction and total sleep deprivation. Sleep 26(2), 117-26.

Featured Image: Kent Wien

Adjusting to the High Intensity Schedule of Airline Careers

Airline careers necessitate long hours of crushing boredom punctuated by short periods of intensity. The unique demands placed on airline pilots, crewmembers and mechanics can be met with lifestyle and attitude adjustments.

Noah Timmins

Aviation distinguishes itself from other industries as one that eschews the traditional “nine to five”, “clock in, clock out” work schedule. The unique nature of air travel refuses to play nice with normal concepts of schedules, routines, or habits. In order to accept a career with the airlines, one must have an understanding of the real demands of airline careers.

The penultimate goal of aviation is to ferry passengers and cargo from one location to another in a manner both safe and efficient. Achieving this goal takes superhuman effort from a broad range of people involved in the successful launch of an aircraft. Let us take a snapshot of the demands placed upon people in three rungs of the aviation ladder: maintenance, dispatch, and carriage.

Airline Careers For Mechanics

Airline mechanics must keep aircraft safe for flight. Strict regulations require extensive documentation and procedure control, lengthening the time mechanics must spend on each maintenance operation. Unfortunately, an aircraft grounded due to maintenance earns no money, requiring mechanics to work quickly. These two aspects come together forcefully, causing mechanics to work long hours, under stress from airline owners. Additionally, mechanics have no room to make mistakes, as one mistake in maintenance can quickly snowball into the loss of hundreds of lives.

One small omission of a sheet metal repair once caused the death of 520 souls. When Japan Airlines Flight 123 encountered a tail strike incident in 1977, the damage was repaired by installing a new piece of metal over the affected area and the plane was declared airworthy. In 1984, that same section of the tail cone underwent explosive decompression, destroying a piece of the tail, and sending the aircraft into an uncontrollable state. It crashed into the ground, killing 520 people of the 524 on board. This is the deadliest single-aircraft accident in aviation history and the second deadliest behind the Tenerife disaster.

The root cause was a single small step being omitted in the repair process. One person missed one thing, and 520 people died. This kind of stress is placed on mechanics daily: extensive paperwork documentation required by the FAA attempts to counter these incidents. At the end of the day, however, mechanics must maintain strict vigilance, operating one-hundred percent perfectly under the stress of timetables. Joining an aviation career as a mechanic is a daunting step and not to be taken lightly.

Airline Careers For Dispatchers

Aircraft must not just be airworthy, but also, be flight ready. This falls under the authority of aircraft dispatchers. In terms of airline careers, dispatchers are responsible for organizing and planning flights for an airline. They must keep track of thousands of different things: aircraft maintenance status, patterns of weather, availability of food and fuel, assignment of personnel, and management of aircraft flight times. These people form the backbone of organization for an airline, keeping planes on schedule and ensuring that the carriage of people and cargo is both safe and efficient.

Dispatchers also suffer from the pressure of financial accountability: they solely are responsible for aircraft arriving and departing from airports at specific times, thus, they control the revenue stream for airlines on the ground. Without dispatchers, no airlines would able to maintain a set schedule with fully stocked aircraft and up-to-date maintenance.

Offices for flight dispatchers are hectic environments. American Airlines employs over 1,600 dispatchers at their Forth Worth control center, all working in the same huge room. People scurry about, constantly busy, ensuring that all the stars align for successful aircraft launches. Tickers and charts dot the walls, like a scene from the New York Stock Exchange.

Like the exchange, things can change at the drop of a hat. A plane might suddenly develop a maintenance issue, or an airline servicing cart might be running late. Dispatchers must be able to find a way to solve this problem, without even having minutes to spare: customers will often be sitting in the plane, on the tarmac, impatiently waiting for takeoff. Their enjoyment of the entire process – and thus their opinion of the airline – could change right at this moment. Dispatchers do not have the luxury of time on their side, thus, they must develop a sense of urgency in their job.

However, dispatchers must also not make mistakes. Like the mechanics, a simple error can lead to a major catastrophe. UPS Flight 1354 into Birmingham, Alabama, flew into the ground in 2013, impacting terrain short of the runway, destroying the airplane. The plane was perfectly airworthy, the pilots were fit for duty, and there was no inclement weather. The issue? Dispatchers sent the airplane to the airport for an instrument flight rules landing, even though the instrument landing system at the airport was inoperative. Effectively, this required the pilots to hand-fly the airplane in for a landing, something they had not planned for due to the mistake made way back at the dispatcher’s office.

This little break in the normal chain of an aircraft landing was enough to push the pilots outside of their comfort and ability zone, causing a further breakdown of situational control, and ultimately leading to the loss of both pilots’ lives and the airframe. All this due to the simple error of one person missing a line in the airport status information panel halfway across the country. The slightest little mistake could quickly snowball out of control, bringing down an airplane and – worse – its load of passengers. This is one of the hardest adjustments to make when pursuing a career in aviation: adopting the mindset required to take the grave responsibility of ferrying people through the air.

Airline Careers for Pilots

Lastly, the pilots. Pilots are the ultimate end-all be-all of safe flight. They are the ones in command of the aircraft from when the wheels leave the tarmac until the inevitable return to ground. Pilots form the “last line” of defense against human mistakes and mechanical errors. This puts them in the most important position of an airline, in terms of having the ultimate responsibility for the safe carriage of passengers. Airline careers as a pilot are a solemn undertaking not for the faint hearted.

Everything a pilot does is regimented to the final letter. Every procedure has a physical checklist called out for it, describing the process required and spelling out each step individually. The presence of both a captain and a first officer ensures that a “call and response” style of completing checklists is accomplished on the flight deck. The first officer will call a requirement, such as “Flaps to fifteen degrees”, to which the captain will comply with, then respond with “Flaps, fifteen”. This process ensures that each checklist operation is completed without any possible errors, and has proven its track record: flying through the air is the safest form of travel today.

This small glimpse into the pilots’ routine in the cockpit highlights the importance of each decision the pilot makes. Moving the incorrect switch in the cockpit could put a plane into a situation that requires an emergency landing or becomes unrecoverable. The famous Air France Flight 447 accident over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 puts this in perspective: the airspeed indication devices of the aircraft became filled with debris, giving the pilots no indication of the speed of the aircraft. This caused the autopilot – responsible for maintaining level flight – to disengage, causing the aircraft to roll right. The pilot, noticing this, grabbed the control stick and wrenched it left in an effort to bring the aircraft level. However, this control input was actually an over-control input, which dragged the aircraft too far into a left roll, causing an aerodynamic stall and the subsequent loss of life and the airframe.

Effectively, the pilot panicked.

This quality is exactly why airlines put such a strict regulation into flight deck management. Pilot training is a 3,000 hour ordeal of managing the flight deck of an airplane. A large portion of this is spent learning how to make decisions. With the control stick in the left hand, the throttle in the right, and 100 souls on board, a pilot’s decision in flight is something that is not taken lightly.

Learning how to fly a plane is a deceptively simple task. Any person can consistently hit the 1000-foot marker on the runway during an instrument landing in a deadly crosswind. All that requires is skill, and skill can be learned. Spending 3,000 hours flying commercial aircraft will give a pilot that skill. The difficult part about piloting is the part that can only be learned and cannot be taught: being a decisive person. The decisions made on the flight deck of an aircraft are the penultimate example of swift thought and swift action.

Captain Sully’s actions during the famous Miracle on the Hudson are a prime example of the character demanded of pilots. US Airways flight 1549 impacted a fleet of birds shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia airport. Both engines of the aircraft immediately lost power. The first officer grabbed the emergency checklist for engine restart – the proper decision – while Captain Sully immediately grabbed the controls, ready to input commands. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the New York City layout, a suitable diversion was unavailable, due to the low altitude of the aircraft. Realizing this, Sully announced to the air traffic controllers that he would attempt to land on the Hudson river. Landing an aircraft successfully on water was considered practically impossible, making Captain Sully’s decision seem poor.

Captain Sullenberger landing US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River

Photo by: Greg L

However, Sully had made his decision. He could have attempted to divert to a possible airport, or attempted to land on a highway, but he had already laid his cards on the table. All of this decision-making occurred over a period less than two minutes. Sully’s approach to the river was cleverly placed: he avoided the cross-river bridges and brought the aircraft down near ferry terminals. The aircraft impacted the water with the aft fuselage – not the engines – resulting in a hard but safe landing. Recovery was successful, with no loss of lives. The NTSB praised Sully, calling it the most successful ditching in airline history.

Captain Sully had a remarkable level of skill at piloting aircraft, being professionally glider trained. More importantly, however, he displayed exceptional decision-making ability. Several alternatives presented themselves. He could not turn around to LaGuardia, he was too slow to make the turn. He could not continue on to New Jersey, he was too low in the sky. He could not land on the highway, it was too far away. His only option was the river, but it was a bad option. Nonetheless, his decisive action brought him to follow-through with his less than optimal decision, saving the lives of hundreds of people.

In Conclusion

Incidents like that highlight the necessity of decision making. This alone will be the hardest step in accepting airline careers. Mechanics, dispatchers, and pilots all face decisions daily that could have disastrous results if performed poorly. However, strict training and attention to detail, combined with the proper attitude of responsibility, will ensure that people depart and arrive safe and on time. This attitude takes time to develop and comes with experience. In the end, the feelings of successfully delivering people is well worth the effort.

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

Featured Image: Enrique

Working to Address The Problem of Fatigue in Pilots

Unsolved Issues: Part 3, Amber Berlin

To read Part 1, click here, and to read Part 2, click here.

In order to achieve a viable solution for fatigue in pilots, we must consider the current beliefs, opinions, and assumptions in the science of fatigue and fatigue management. There is a general consensus in the scientific community about what causes fatigue, and much research has been accomplished in studying the body’s response to operation in the realm of fatigue. Several factors have been proven to contribute to an individual’s level of fatigue, including diet, level of physical activity, circadian disruption, the presence sleeping disorders and exposure to sustained stress. Since there are several factors which contribute to fatigue in pilots, each of these factors must be addressed and an appropriate solution achieved.

The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as a taxing work schedule or poor relationship. However, anything that puts a high demand on you or forces you to adjust can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, or simply receiving a promotion. Prolonged stress has certain degrading effects on the body, which includes cognitive symptoms, such as the inability to concentrate; emotional symptoms, such as feeling overwhelmed; physical symptoms such as nausea and dizziness; and behavioral symptoms such as the inability to sleep.

Each individual’s tolerance for stress is unique. Some people can handle more stress than others due to their individual experiences and psychological makeup. According to an article by Dr. John Anne titled Stress Reduction – Which Techniques Can Be Used to Reduce Stress, stress creates a physical condition that increases the occurrence of various health problems:

“Chronic stress may lead to unpleasant conditions even for the strongest individuals. Prolonged stress can cause a permanent biochemical imbalance in the health system. This eventually leads to a weakened immune system and increased vulnerability for serious health conditions, which may be proven fatal in due course of time. Stress is known to develop various health complications such as asthma, cardiac complication, high blood pressure, allergy, fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, irregular bladder, headaches, body pain and many more. (2007).”

If you do not manage long-term stress effectively, it can lead to long-term fatigue, failure, or one of the many forms of physical or mental ill health.

It is known that pilots experience high levels of stress due to the sustained attention and decision-making capability required to fly an aircraft. Gregory, et.al have shown that during the descent phase of flight, the pilot controlling the aircraft experiences an increased heart rate, signifying an increased level of stress. (1994). When under the effects of stress, the body responds by emitting cortisol from the adrenal glands located on the upper side of the kidneys. Cortisol is produced to assist the body’s natural response to stress, the need to fight or flee the situation. In an aviation environment, there is no one to fight, and nowhere to flee, so this cortisol is not used appropriately. With no outlet, the cortisol remains in the system in high levels for an extended period of time, doing damage to the cells of the brain and body, and resulting in sustained levels of anxiety and reduced cognitive ability.

Photo by: Michael Coghlan

Photo by: Michael Coghlan

One reliable way to reduce cortisol levels in the body is massage. According to a study conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine, “cortisol levels decrease dramatically post massage, and have been reported decreasing by as much as 37% over recorded pre-massage levels.” (2005). Massage also increases the level of dopamine, a brain chemical which is responsible for keeping the brain alert and awake, and serotonin, which works against cortisol, producing a calm and relaxed state. (University of Miami School of Medicine, 2005).

Studies have shown that massage will decrease the effects of stress and fatigue on the body by speeding the elimination of chemical waste produced by the body, in both animals and humans. This information has been around for quite some time, as J.H. Kellogg, M.D. wrote in The Art of Massage about the ability to remove the effects of fatigue by administering massage:

“In cases of exhaustion from excessive mental, nervous, or muscular work, general massage secures the most marked and satisfactory results, relieving the sense of fatigue in a most wonderful manner, and in cases of muscular exhaustion, restoring muscular power in a remarkably short space of time. Ranke, Helmholtz, Du Bois-Raymond, and more recently, Abelous, have conclusively shown that special toxic substances are produced as the result of muscle work, and that the phenomena of fatigue are due to the influence of these substances upon the nervous and muscular systems. Zabloudowski has shown that frogs completely exhausted by faradization of the muscles, although not restored by fifteen minutes’ rest, were revived at once by massage, and were even able to do twice as much work as before. In another experiment, a man lifted with his little finger, one kilo (2 1-5 lbs.) 840 times, lifting the weight once a second. The muscles of his finger were then completely exhausted. After five minutes’ massage he was able to lift the same weight 1100 times, and his muscles were even then not greatly fatigued. Mental fatigue is also relieved by massage, through its effect upon the circulation and the eliminative organs. The toxic substances produced by mental activity, are more rapidly oxidized and removed from the body, while the hastened blood current more thoroughly repairs and cleanses the wearied nerve tissues. The entire nervous stem, through the improved nutrition induced by massage, experiences general reconstructive effects. (1895).”

A certified massage therapist, Vicki Platt, highlighted recent findings on the effects of massage in the workplace, including a five-week study at Bowling Green State University, proving massage has the ability to increase mental alertness:

“The individuals who participated in the study were massaged twice a week and completed a math test in half the time, with half the errors as the control group. (2007).”

The investigations listed herein have shown that massage is one of the most effective ways of influencing the human body’s ability to eliminate toxic substances, and thereby recover from both mental and physical fatigue. Massage has the ability to speed the recovery from fatigue at several times the rate of rest alone, and revive the muscles to potentially do more work than they previously could. As massage speeds the removal of the chemicals that build up in the brain, the way is cleared for the continued chemical processes of decision making and sustained attention required for flight. As the waste products are removed, mental clarity is restored and faster response times become possible. Massage results in faster recovery from fatigue in pilots and resets the body’s ability to handle the next dose of stress and fatigue aviation schedules deliver. This information is not new, but it has not been applied to the aviation industry as a legitimate finding on fatigue, and as of now there are no programs available that incorporate these principles.

A massage program, when applied to the aviation industry, has the potential to reduce fatigue in pilots and thereby increase safety, and should be incorporated for those positions which normally experience high levels of stress. While it’s not practical or cost effective to provide each pilot with a personal post-flight massage, obtaining a massage chair for regular home use, and a couple of massage chairs in each pilot’s lounge is highly recommended to relieve the effects of fatigue in pilots, promote better sleep, and keep cortisol levels to a minimum. A program to finance massage chairs during flight training would put the solution for the problem of fatigue in pilots where it’s needed the most, and has the potential to reduce training times due to the increased ability to focus and process information. An airline safety program element to provide massage chairs for post-flight use in pilot lounges would increase safety and reduce overall healthcare costs for the airline. As we hold consistently high standards for our pilots, we can also give them the tools to be successful in delivering consistently excellent results. Massage is the missing link in the fight against fatigue in pilots. Although it seems like a luxury item to many, science has proven it to be a necessity for the sustained 24-hour operations and attentional requirements of our top performers, the pilots.

Think you wouldn’t drink and fly a plane? You might be doing something similar without even knowing it. As our journey to cognitive excellence continues, we’ll see the scientific comparison between being awake and being drunk in Unsolved Issues: Part IV, Stress and Fatigue in Aviation: Looking at Continuous Wakefulness and Sleep

Get Started With Your Flight Training Today

You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

References:

Anne, John. (2007). Stress Reduction – Which Techniques can be used to Reduce Stress.

Gregory, K. B; Miller, D. L; Lebacqz, J. V.; Mcnally, K. L; Weldon, K. J; Rosekind, M. R; Co, E. L;Smith, R. M; Gander, P. H. (1994). Fatigue in Operational Settings: Examples from the Aviation Environment. Human Factors 36:2 p. 327-338.

Kellogg, J.H. (1895). The Art of Massage. Retrieved from here and here.

Platt, Vicki. (2007) Massage, The Healing Power of Touch can Help Relieve Pain.

University of Miami School of Medicine. (2005). International Journal of Neuroscience. Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413.

Featured Image: Matthew Juzenas

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