Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


The risk of fatigue on pilot performance and safety is well recognized in aviation. In response to increased safety concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration addressed fatigue risk for passenger airline pilots in Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 117, which included accommodations to address fatigue related risk-factors such as circadian rhythm and the phenomenon commonly described as jet-lag. The rule became effective in January 2014. A survey was conducted in March and April of 2014 to better understand pilot perceptions of the new Part 117 rule. This study analyzed survey responses from 92 self-identified pilots to determine the effect of these new regulations on pilot perception of safety and level of fatigue. The analysis of survey responses to 5-point Likert-scale questions suggested that 43% of pilots felt a positive impact on overall safety, contrasted to 30% of pilots who felt a negative impact on overall safety. Twenty-seven percent of pilots indicated that Part 117 did not have an impact on safety. For perceived level of fatigue, 35% of participants felt a positive impact of Part 117, whereas 33% of participants indicated a negative impact on their fatigue level. Thirty-three percent of participants felt no impact of Part 117 on their overall fatigue level. When asked if cargo operations should be included in the new regulations, 79% of respondents agreed. A qualitative analysis of open-ended comments provided by pilots revealed that negative perceptions of the new regulations were most frequently mentioned.