Fatigue risk management in aviation
Flight crew fatigue is a hazard that can contribute to aviation incidents. Fatigue risk management refers to the methods used by air operators to address flight crew fatigue.
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Approaches to fatigue management
New requirements for managing flight crew fatigue were published on December 2018 in the Canada Gazette, Part II. The amended regulations include 2 approaches to fatigue management: prescriptive and performance-based.
You can find a summary of changes in 9 key areas of the regulations in Annex A of the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement.
Under the prescriptive approach, air operators and flight crew comply with set requirements that define:
- maximum hours of work, flight time, and flight duty periods
- minimum rest periods and time free from duty for flight crew members
In addition, air operators who are subject to Subpart 705 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations may manage fatigue risks under their Safety Management System.
This approach allows air operators to vary from prescriptive requirements for a flight or series of flights using a fatigue risk management system (FRMS) to predict and prevent flight crew fatigue.
An FRMS has 4 components:
- The plan – the operator explains how their FRMS works, who is responsible for it in their organization, and how the FRMS will be measured and monitored.
- The process – the operator documents and uses a data-driven process to identify, assess, and mitigate fatigue risk in their operations.
- The promotion program – the operator promotes fatigue risk management through competency-based training and communicating fatigue-related information.
- The quality assurance program – the operator audits and reviews their FRMS to improve its effectiveness and maintain compliance with the regulations.
Applying the new regulations
Different requirements apply depending on which approach to fatigue management you use.
|CAR Part VII Operating Rule||Prescriptive approach||Performance-based approach|
|Subpart 702 (Aerial Work)||New Division X||Optional – comes into force December 12, 2020|
|Subpart 703 (Air Taxi Operations)||New requirements come into force December 12, 2022||Optional – comes into force December 12, 2022|
|Subpart 704 (Commuter Operations)||New requirements come into force December 12, 2022||Optional – comes into force December 12, 2022|
|Subpart 705 (Airline Operations)||New requirements come into force December 12, 2020||Optional – comes into force December 12, 2020|
|Medevac Flights||New Division IV||Optional – coming-into-force date depends on operating rule|
Related guidance and references
For more information, the following draft Advisory Circulars (ACs) are currently available through your industry association, or on request by contacting the e-mail address below:
- AC 700-047 – Flight Crew Fatigue Management – Prescriptive Limitations
- AC 700-046 – Fatigue Risk Management System Requirements
- AC 700-045 – Exemption and Safety Case Process for Fatigue Risk Management Systems
You can find workbooks, guides and presentations in the Fatigue Risk Management System Toolbox.
- Fatigue risk management gap analysis tool (PDF, 1.2 MB)
- Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Parts I, VI and VII – Flight Crew Member Hours of Work and Rest Periods)
- Examples of fatigue hazards, performance implications, and mitigations
- Scientific studies related to fatigue and human performance
- Example fatigue-related safety performance indicators
Other fatigue management resources
- TSB Watchlist 2018 – Fatigue Management in Air Transportation
- TSB Fatigue-Related Findings (1990–2018) - Table 3: 34 Aviation Investigation Reports
- International Civil Aviation Organization
- Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority
- Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand
- Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular 120-103A
- UK Office of Road and Rail - Sample Fatigue Key Performance Indicators
- International Air Transport Association
- International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations