Pilot Rest Policy: On Call Equals On Duty | The cold beer test

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The FAA has once again issued a legal interpretation that an “on call” pilot can’t count as rest all of the time that a call never came. The agency has been restating this pilot rest policy principle periodically for years. Each time, many in the FAR Part 135 on-demand charter world angrily reply that this pilot rest policy cannot function in the real world. Their position: If a pilot hasn’t flown or worked in any way for a week, why can’t that same, well-rested pilot fly on 2-hr notice?

The latest legal interpretation give this simple “hypothetical” inquiry from a charter pilot:

“You finish your assigned duties on a Wednesday at 2200 Eastern Standard Time (EST), at which time your rest period starts and continues until 0800 EST on Thursday. After completing this 10-hr. rest period, you are not called to report for duty until you receive a ‘2-hr. callout’ on Friday morning at 0200 EST for an 0400 EST takeoff time. You state that you did not know of the 0400 EST takeoff sufficiently in advance to get 10 hr. of rest immediately before the flight and ask whether this ‘rolling rest’ policy violates Part 135.267.”

The FAA shot down this “rolling rest” policy with a three-part test that has been appearing in legal interpretations for many years.

In response to your question, the above company policy would not meet the requirement of Part 135.267. The “rolling rest” policy in your hypothetical falls short because, as pointed out in the Masterson interpretation, a flight-crew member’s rest period must be “(1) continuous, (2) determined prospectively (i.e. known in advance) and (3) free from all restraint by the certificate holder, including freedom from work or the present responsibility for work should the occasion arise.” What you describe is the same 24-hr., on-call schedule that the Masterson interpretation found would not meet Part 135.267 because…

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