I received this letter and find it compelling enough to share here so that we can all weigh-in on this topic.
Dear Aero Crew News,
With the active summer weather, I find myself in situations where I am being asked to extend past the Maximum Flight Duty Period. A few months after FAR 117 passed, I had an FAA inspector do a line check on one of my flights. After a successful line check he made a comment to my Captain and me, “Just one last thing guys, never extend.”
My captain and I were both taken aback by his comment and asked why he, an FAA inspector, would be offering such advice. He replied, “The name of the chart isMaximum Flight Duty Period, it doesn’t say recommended, advisable, but maximum. Yes, there are exceptions deeper in the regulations that allow you to extend, but let’s say after you extend there is some kind of incident or accident. You had better have a very compelling reason why you felt it was safe to extend past the FAA Maximum Flight Duty Period. Especially if you make a mistake and there is a death involved in the accident.”
I know from my experience that every time I tell a scheduler that I am timed-out, their first question is, “Are you willing to extend?” Ever since I flew with this FAA inspector, I have not extended. I would really like to know what your readers think about this.
That is a very sticky situation and I can definitely understand that the companies want crews to complete flights but to be safe and exercise good judgement. Let’s see what our readers have to say on this topic. Readers, please post your comments via social media, or if you want to protect your anonymity, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll look over the comments and readdress John’s question is the near future.