Fatigue Risk Management System AC120-103AIn the airline industry, safety is of paramount importance. The long experience in the safe flight of both passengers and cargo have given the air transport industry a great understanding of having an alert and rested crewmembers (Romig & Klemets, 2009). It is identifiable that pilot has rest requirements which are important and supported by scientific evidence. This leads to support for the scientifically validated and data-driven means to reduce fatigue and ensure there are tangible benefits in safety (Goode, 2003). The Advisory Circular (AC) issued by the US Department of Transport is meant to provide guidelines on coming up with effective fatigue education and awareness training program.
The guidelines given in the AC should be applied by the certificate holders who conduct their operations under the Title 14 based on the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 117. The concept of the Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) is described based on the Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 117, & 117.7 (U. S. Department of Transportation, 2013). The AC gives information on the FRMS components and how they are applied within the operators in aviation industry.
Despite not being mandatory, the AC gives vital information on developing the FRMS application. Before proceeding on the AC, there is need to define some of the terms used. Fatigue is a psychological state where a person suffers a reduction in the mental and physical performance capability (Gander, 2015). This may be caused due to lack of adequate sleep and an increase in the physical ability. A crewmember suffering from fatigue has reduced alertness and is unable to operate the aircraft safely or carry out related duties.
Fit for duty implies being physically and mentally ready and capable of carrying the assigned duty with the highest degree of safety. The crew member is supposed to be properly rested to assume the function. Acute fatigue has been closely associated with recent sleep. This is sleep within in a period of the last 24 hours. Those having less than 8 hours of sleep for a period of 24 hours or are awake for over 17 hours and working between midnight and 0600 having high likelihood of developing acute fatigue.
Normal, abnormal and diseased areas on the body can be detected through use of biomarkers. Chronic fatigue occurs when a person gets less than 8 hours of sleep for multiple days. Circadian fatigue occurs during the circadian low especially during night time and is evidenced by reduced performance. Circadian rhythm is a daily behaviour and psychology alternation which is controlled by the brain. A mild sleep restriction for a long period leads to cumulative fatigue (U. S.
Department of Transportation, 2013). FRMS is defined as an optional approach which is used in prescriptive regulations. It is developed as an alternative method of compliance (AMOC). This is meant to prescribe the limitations which are based on the objective performance standards. If a certificate holder is capable of demonstrating effective AMOC, they should be authorized to apply the FRMS to any part of in all operations. Unlike the fatigue risk management plan, which is a requirement to the certificate holders based on part 121, FRMS acts as an AMOC, which can prescribe the limitations which can be implemented by the certificate holders to manage fatigue and carry out mitigation measures.
FRMS can be described as a data-driven system which is largely based on the scientific principles and scientific knowledge. This helps in ensuring that there are continuous monitoring and management for the risks posed by fatigue to safety. FRMS acts as a fatigue mitigation tool which can minimise the acute and chronic fatigue and also manage potential outcomes of fatigue. The FRMS by the certificate holders are designed with an aim of ensuring that the flight crew members are alert (U. S.
Department of Transportation, 2013). This ensures that they can successfully perform their duties.