Tuesday, February 9, 2010

“Flying Cheap”: FRONTLINE Investigates Pilot Safety & Fatigue

Tonight on PBS, FRONTLINE takes a hard look at the regional airline industry in “Flying Cheap.” Are inexperienced, fatigued pilots putting passenger safety at risk?

The industry came under scrutiny a year ago when Continental flight 3407 crashed outside of Buffalo, N.Y. The flight was operated by a regional airline.

The ensuing investigation put a spotlight on the lifestyle of some regional airline pilots: Cross-country commutes. Long hours and low pay. Less experience and training. Sleeping in cramped “crash pads.”

FRONTLINE reports that regional airlines account for more than half of all scheduled domestic flights in the U.S. And they have been responsible for the last six fatal commercial airline accidents. Is pilot fatigue partly to blame?

“Flying Cheap” will be broadcast tonight at 9 p.m. EST on local PBS stations.

In December the Sleep Education Blog reported on sleep and airline safety. Other airline incidents have focused attention on sleep, sleep disorders and pilot fatigue.

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