To be an airline pilot is most of the time described in terms of duties, job requirements, proficiency, training, employment opportunity, and good salary. These features picture a plain profile that fit into the specification of just an ordinary career. However, an aviation career comes with many challenges than expected. When focusing on statistics about being a pilot, it indicates a lifestyle that many inspire to work despite the many challenges that face this career. The challenges that pilot face revolve around being rested during long flights, performing unexpected, simultaneous tasks, and passing the medical examination in order to remain qualified. When combined with fatigue due to long flight hours, these different aspects can be crucial and play a vital role in the airlines pilot’s lifestyle.
Long Flights and fatigue on Airline Pilots
Pilot fatigue is a hazard and is recognized as a major threat to aviation safety. Various factors are described as the major cause of pilot fatigue. These factors include long fight periods, high workload without sufficient rest, night flying, circadian disturbance and early start and late finish (Powell, D; Mick B; David; Petrie, K. 2008).
Other challenges that are experienced by the pilot are interruption, mostly by other personnel when they are performing procedures at the airport. From the time, the pilot enters the airport they are likely to be interrupted by a gate attendant, flight attendant, ground employees, and many others. Also, if there is passenger misconduct, pilots are also interrupted in order to deal with such cases. For example, if a flight attendant is be unable to handle a difficult passenger, the situation is reported to the pilot and requested to intervene, and if need be the airplane is directed to the nearby airport. Therefore, at the end of the long flight, the pilot will be exhausted in performing the expected duties and handling different interruption during and after the flight.
In modern aviation, pilot fatigue has become a vital problem that needs urgent intervention. The full effect of fatigue is frequently unforeseen however, many of its harmful effects have been known for a long time. When comparing with individuals who usually have enough rest, individuals who suffer from fatigue act slowly, have difficulties in memory, and are involved in many mistakes. In addition, the negative impact can or may lead to aviation accidents and errors (Caldwell, Mallis, Caldwell, Paul, Miller, & Neri, 2009).
Some of the negative effects that contribute to airplane accidents are related to fatigue. Associated mainly with long flights, irregular work schedules performed by pilots may lead to incidences such as menstrual irregularities, stomach problems, weight gain, cardiovascular problems, and cold flu. Unfortunately, there are attempts to provide limitation on flight time and scheduling provisions to pilots.
Moreover, accident surveys and...