It is generally acknowledged in aviation that fatigue is a risk. After all, who hasn’t been taught the IMSAFE checklist? It’s easy to find guidelines for establishing duty and rest periods; NBAA and Flight Safety Foundation both have a free guide for pilots. More recently, the emphasis on fatigue has led flight departments to consider fatigue management for their whole operation, including maintenance and dispatch.
However, the reality in business aviation is that you will not always be able to adhere to the duty times you set. It’s important to track any deviations so that you can operate in a real-world environment without incurring unnecessary risk.
Here are five reasons why you should be tracking extensions to duty.
1. Put a Number On Fatigue
Tired of tracking your fatigue? Failing to document your extensions may actually be causing you a lot more headache than you think.
Every time you file an Extension to Duty Time Form or you report an occurrence, you’re collecting data. Looking back you may not remember the exact conditions of each situation or how many times such an incident occurred, but with forms you don’t have to.
Having that objective data is paramount for the long-term safety of your department. Above just having those records available, is being able to use that data when you feel fatigue may impact the safety of the operation.
The best way to track extensions is through filling out form fields that are set, which establish a comparison baseline so you can identify and easily analyze common factors. To capture other important data that may be unique to a particular situation your form can include a free text field.