A tight schedule – Flight duty limitations

Pilot blog

Some days are more stressful than others, and last week I had one of those days. 7 sectors and a maxed-out flight duty with only 15 minutes margin between the scheduled duration of the flights and the maximum time we were allowed to fly due to duty time restrictions. So what to do?  There is actually only one thing to do and that is taking one sector (flight) at a time and do the best you can to make it work.

The maximum time we are allowed to fly by the authorities is stated in a table with restrictions determined by the time you check in and how many flights you have. This is what we mean, when we talk about flight time limitations.

Our task that day was to make sure that we carried out the flights safely and on schedule, without busting the duty hour limits. I knew it would be a challenge as we had 4 full flights and passengers with lots of luggage. It is tempting to cut corners such as taxiing too fast or skip a briefing to save time, but it is a slippery slope. Most of us have probably tried to rush because of time pressure, but this is when mistakes happen, so it is important to keep your professional attitude and not cut corners that can compromise safety.

So how did it go? Well on our last flight, we could only afford to be 5 minutes late, but we made it and landed on time. Great teamwork on board, but also with the ground staff!

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