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captnmo 09-18-2007 07:37 AM

Pilot rest tracker
I'm currently on military leave from my regional airline flying for the Army overseas. Unbelievabley, the Army does not have a good way to track how long their pilots have been on duty and how much they've been flying other than a piece of paper to sign in and out on. And even then, being pilots like we are, we fudge it so we can keep flying and not violate any regulations.

This issue has come out in our safety meetings but so far, we're only giving this issue lip service. So I'm wondering if anyone out there knows of a simple spreadsheet-type crew-rest tracker that can be used as a clock-in, clock-out system and keep us honest and safe. I'm sure the airlines use something like that and there's got to be someone out there keeping track of themseleves and others.

Thanks for the help.

rickair7777 09-18-2007 08:11 AM

The airlines scheduling software does track this, but it has two serious limitations...

1) GIGO: Garbage-In, Garbage Out. If the times are entered erroneously, it won't keep you legal (the pilot is ultimately still responsible for this). There is always the possibility of mistakes, and if for some reason the actual flight times don't make it into the computer, the schedulers may just enter the scheduled times (they are not going to lift a finger to attempt to find the right answer).

2) Time-late: The software may not flag a violation until after the times are which point it's too late! In the 121 world, if the computer flags it, you WILL be violated...the company will immediately report you to the FAA to ensure the blame gets placed squarely on you, and not them.

Also there are certain morally bankrupt companies which falsify the computer records on an occasional or wholesale basis. There are several incentives for this...

1) Control on-time performance.
2) Avoid delays or CANX due to timed-out crews.
3) Long-term you can get more productivity out of your pilot group if you fudge all the numbers a little...fewer monthly/annual timeouts.

For this reason I learned to keep my own logbook. The company ALWAYS backs down when confronted with this...if they force the issue and an investigation ensues, airplane trip cans and other crewmember's logbooks may get scrutinized and compared to the company computer :eek:

FlyerJosh 09-18-2007 09:59 AM


Originally Posted by captnmo (Post 232451)
And even then, being pilots like we are, we fudge it so we can keep flying and not violate any regulations.

A spread sheet isn't going to do you any good, until you deal with this particular statement.

As Rick stated in his reply- Garbage in, Garbage out. All a computerized program would do is track the hours that you put in. If you want to better control your rest, you need to start by enforcing the rest regulations and policies. Safety culture starts at the top.

captnmo 09-19-2007 10:20 PM


Originally Posted by FlyerJosh (Post 232546)
Safety culture starts at the top.

Totally agree with you! Obviously, there are many other mission considerations that don't apply to the airline world, but the concept of safety does. So please don't misundertand me on this point.
However, Without something other than a paper log, I can't bring bring a better solution to my higher command. Command pressure has always been a big problem in the military because usually the aviator is junior in rank and experience and won't call time out when they're exhausted. We see this in the early stages of a civilian flying career. Everytime there's an accident, fingers are pointed and mandatory briefings are created. But no tools are given or created. This is because the Army is not run by aviators who don't understand the needs of aviation. We're not the Air Force. Not that that's bad, because we're a ground force, but it does create these sort of complications when you're trying to run a flight operation is support of those ground-pounders. What I'm trying to find is a tool to give this issue more emphasis. I don't have the command influence because I'm not anywhere near the top, but I do know what "right" looks like and want to pull out what's available to me and bring it to the table.
On a positive note, I believe that our local command would back a more effective tool. We don't have the pressure of profit and therefore if someone with stars on their shoulder has a problem with it because their flight is cancelled or delayed, it won't get much futher than their own complaining and hopefully avert disaster.
So if anyone out there is a wiz on computers and have created something like a personal rest-tracker, I'd like to know about it. Thanks for the help!

FlyerJosh 09-20-2007 04:23 AM

I have a basic excel spreadsheet that plots info. It's an old 30/7 tracker that I used to use at ACA before our duty/rest tracking went all electronic using the crew scheduling system (Bornemann CrewTrac). If you PM me with your email, I'll try to dig it up for you.

Sid Vicious 09-21-2007 11:40 PM

To say that the Army does not understand the needs of aviation and does not provide the tools to get the job done safely is not true at all. Every unit SOP that I have seen has very clear guidance on crew endurance policy. AR 95-1 (para 3-17) requires commanders to establish a crew endurance program and DA Pam 385-90 (para 2-12) requires fatigue/rest management procedures to be included in the unit SOP. AR 385-95 (para 2-16) lists what the commanderís responsibilities are toward fighter management. The Combat Resource Center also has a number of publications that give guidance on developing a crew endurance program. For example, check out The previous edition of AR 95-1 (1 Sep 97) had a crew endurance guide (Table 3-1) that provided some recommended numbers to serve as a base when establishing crew endurance limitations. It was removed from the Feb 06 edition, but most units still use that as a basic guideline. I donít mean to be a nerd and toss out a bunch of regulation references, but it sounds like your commander may not be aware of what his requirements are in regards to crew endurance and showing him in black and white may be helpful.
Regardless of what actual numbers your unit uses and the method they choose to implement it, the fighter management program is a command function/responsibility. The commander is not only required to establish a program, but heís also the person whose butt will be on the line in the event of a mishap if no such program exists or it is not enforced. If that is not enough reason for him to place emphasis on the program, along with keeping his pilots safe, then I donít know what is.
As far as tracking tools, I have some decent excel spreadsheets from my last couple of units. Send me your email and I will shoot them to you. I can probably dig up the crew endurance portion of our SOP as well if you want it.
Good luck and fly safe!

captnmo 09-26-2007 01:16 AM

You're right about the commander's responsibility. I don't mean to expose any dirty laundry. But it sounds like you've been in the military and know the mentality I'm talking about. The commander is responsible but as a Guard unit, we're fairly new to this op-tempo and until something "bad" happens, the policy is there, the power-point briefings are there, but the individual sense of consequence is not there. At the very least, I'd like to avoid someone taking out a taxi light, getting investigated and possibly losing their flight privliges. We have too many young staff aviators who are willing to work themeselves to death at their administrative duties and then go fly just for the chance to fly. The correlation between working at their desk and flying is not there. So the opportunity is there to work 12 hours at their administrative duties without anyone even knowing it before they go fly for the next 4.

I'm going to shut up now. But I appreciate the references and I've already downloaded the link. I'm on ako and my address in morgan.lawrence. Any help is much appreciated. Fly safe!

Sid Vicious 09-27-2007 09:48 PM

I sent you an email today with a couple trackers. Hopefully I did a good enough job of explaining them, but if you have any trouble with them or need help with anything else, just let me know.

JSELL 01-24-2009 10:03 AM

I'm an Army pilot tracking fighter management as well . I'd like to get a copy of those trackers as well please.

kessel31 07-05-2011 04:24 AM

Request for your spreadsheets
Hey SID, I would like to take a look at the spreadsheets you have available as well. My BDE is looking for a viable standard. Those that I have I do not have the password for to modify names etc, so if your require such, could you please send those along as well? You can send them to william.liller also on AKO. Thanks much.

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