The following IPA story ran nationally on CBS radio news.
FAA Rejects Request From Cargo Pilots for Greater Rest
By Alan Levin
Dec 11, 2012
U.S. aviation regulators won’t alter a decision excluding pilots at United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) and FedEx Corp. (FDX) from rules to increase rest in an effort to reduce fatigue-related accidents. The Federal Aviation Administration said it would be more costly than it had previously calculated for cargo carriers to adopt requirements announced last year for passenger airlines.
"As a result, the FAA has determined that no revisions to the final rule on either cargo or passenger operations is warranted," the agency said in a filing to appear tomorrow in the U.S. Federal Register. The FAA announced in May it had discovered errors in calculations used to justify the rule, after the Independent Pilots Association, which represents UPS's flight crews, filed suit to force the agency to impose the rules on cargo carriers.
The rule, which takes effect in 2014, will reduce the hours passenger pilots can fly late at night or if they are making numerous landings and takeoffs. Because the projected benefits are based largely on averting potential loss of life, cargo carriers had less to gain and were excluded, the FAA said in the rule.
The union says in its lawsuit that since Congress ordered the FAA to impose new pilot-rest standards, the agency shouldn't have calculated costs and benefits.
"We still reject the application of a cost-benefit analysis," Robert Travis, president of the IPA, said in an e- mailed statement. "We do not believe that it was Congress's intent to address the important issue of pilot fatigue only if the price is right."
Estimated net costs, after benefits, during the first 12 years of reducing pilot work hours on cargo airlines rose from $306 million to $550 million in FAA's revised calculations. The FAA projected that cargo airlines would have had benefits of between $20.4 million and $32.6 million.
The case is Independent Pilots Association v. Federal Aviation Administration, 11-1483, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Levin in Washington
NTSB urges fire-suppression upgrades for air cargo
November 28. 2012
From USA Today
The National Transportation Safety Board announced recommendations Wednesday to reduce the harm from fires aboard cargo planes, which a pilots' union endorsed.
The board urged the Federal Aviation Administration to require fire-suppression systems in all cargo compartments of planes and to improve fire detection within cargo containers and pallets.
"These fires quickly grew out of control, leaving the crew with little time to get the aircraft on the ground," NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman says. "The current approach is not safe enough."
The recommendations followed three fire-related accidents worldwide during the last six years. One involved a UPS crash in United Arab Emirates in 2010. One damaged a UPS aircraft in Philadelphia in 2006. And one involved an Asiana Cargo crash into the ocean off South Korea in 2011.
Safety investigators found that the early stages of a fire burning inside a cargo container are often concealed. Then when a fire grows, it rapidly burns through the container to threaten the plane and crew.
The UPS crash in Dubai killed two crew members aboard a 747-400, whose equipment failed two and a half minutes after the fire was detected. The Asiana fire aboard a 747-400 also killed two crew members. But the two crew members survived the Philadelphia fire, which destroyed a DC-8.
Captain Robert Travis, president of the Independent Pilots Association, which represents UPS pilots, thanked the board for its recommendations.
"No pilot group is more aware of the tragedy that can result from in-flight smoke and fire than the IPA," Travis says.
FedEx is installing a fire-suppression system on its long-haul fleet and Hersman says UPS briefed her on its efforts this week.
A UPS spokesman says the company worked with NTSB, FAA and the union to pioneer and test new fire-resistant package containers and covers for cargo on pallets. Experimental suppression equipment sprays a potassium aerosol powder to put out a fire, in an effort tosave other packages in the shipment.
In the cockpit, UPS is installing oxygen masks that can be put on quickly, including for the jump seats in747-400s. On international flights, the company will install inflatable bubbles to ensure pilots can see through smoke to see instruments and out windows. The company is also educating shippers about the safe handling of dangerous products, such as lithium batteries.
"Speaking broadly, we applaud the NTSB's goal to improve cargo fire safety," says Mike Mangeot, a UPS spokesman.