Thursday, June 19, 2008

Eight Hours

Doing company annual paperwork sends me back to reading the CARs and the ops manual to answer all those questions again. I have read the below rules dozens of times, can pretty much recite them by heart, but today I suddenly saw a possible new interpretation of paragraph (f).

700.15 (1) Subject to subsection (2), no air operator shall assign a flight crew member for flight time, and no flight crew member shall accept such an assignment, if the flight crew member's total flight time in all flights conducted by the flight crew member will, as a result, exceed

(a) 1,200 hours in any 365 consecutive days;

(b) 300 hours in any 90 consecutive days;

(c) 120 hours in any 30 consecutive days or, in the case of a flight crew member on call, 100 hours in any 30 consecutive days;

(d) where the flight is conducted under Subpart 4 or 5 using an aircraft other than a helicopter, 40 hours in any 7 consecutive days;

(e) where the flight is conducted under Subpart 2 or 3, or is conducted using a helicopter, 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days; or

(f) where the flight crew member conducts single-pilot IFR flights, 8 hours in any 24 consecutive hours.

Now Canadian pilots all know this, and generally know their company exceptions well, too, so I'm not even sure why I re-read it. I could have told you that I wasn't allowed to fly more than eight hours in a day if I was doing single-pilot IFR. I'd usually say it, "I'm not allowed to fly single pilot IFR if I fly more than eight hours in a day." I've actually flown eight hours of SPIFR, cancelled IFR, and flown out the balance of my 14 hour duty day VFR. I thought of it as the same kind of thing as doing part 702 work at the end of the week when you already have forty hours of 704 work done: dutied out for one kind of flying but okay for the other. And then when you're dutied out for 702 you can go do flight instruction, because there is no limit on flight instructors. Been there, done that.

Yet suddenly I re-read this and think, "doesn't this make it look as if we are never allowed to log more than eight hours in a day if we ever conduct single-pilot IFR?" This would appear to forbid departing IFR through an area of poor weather, cancelling IFR, and flying VFR for the balance of the flight, then refuelling and doing another five hours VFR. It even appears to forbid flying twelve hour VFR days for a week, taking a week off and then doing a one-hour single-pilot IFR flight.

Surely that can't be what they meant. Surely I've just been reading too many air regs lately. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

You're not going to get any legally useful advice from blog comments.

A sufficiently talented lawyer could argue any number of interpretations ranging from the industry standard 8h limit for single pilot IFR to an interpretation that pilots are not permitted to operate for more than 8h per 24h if they ever fly single pilot IFR under any circumstances. Because of the phraseology in paragraphs D and E, it could be argued that paragraph F would begin 'where the flight is conducted...' if the intention was to merely prohibit single pilot IFR for over 8h per 24h as opposed to any of the more restrictive interpretations.

The phraseology is too ambiguous to suggest any one interpretation over other possible interpretations. The only way to get a definitive interpretation of ambiguous regulations is to wait for them to be revised or wait for the meaning to be established by the courts.

Aviatrix said...

I could get very useful information from blog comments. Along the line of "my company's Transport guy knows we do this and has no problem with it," for example.

david said...

When I've had questions like this in the past, I've e-mailed them to COPA, and COPA got in touch with its TC contacts to get an answer. It saves you any direct contact, but still satisfies your curiosity (and that's why we pay our COPA membership fee).

Aviatrix said...

Also I was looking for confirmation that it was ambiguous, and not just to me. You've done that nicely.

Anonymous said...

Regulatory interpretations given by individual officials are not in any way binding on the government.

An on-record statement by an official that interpretation X is valid would provide little to no protection against punishment if the bureaucracy one day decided that interpretation Y was the only valid interpretation and that anyone following interpretation X was in violation of regulations. The regulatory apparatus is perfectly free to change its mind about any interpretations that haven't been established by legal tribunals, the courts, or by acts of parliament.

Regulatory law is full of these kind of pitfalls, which is why it's a very good idea to ask these kinds of questions of a lawyer.

Sulako said...

Nice spam, jobholic guy.

I asked our TC guy this question back in the day, and he said it only forbids single-pilots IFR for more than 8 hours in a day. So according to him, you can do 8.0 SPIFR and then as long as the rest is VFR, or you add a second pilot for IFR, then you can continue your duty day.

Unfortunately, the CAR's really aren't set up in favor of the pilot.

Anonymous said...

And here's another thought... the CARs don't actually say "per day", they say "per 24 consecutive hours".

So it might be contrary to the regs to do 6 hours of IFR starting 3PM Monday (finishing at 9PM), getting 10 hours of off-duty solid sleep to 7am Tuesday, and flying 3hours of IFR from 7-10am Tuesday. 9 hours of IFR on two calendar days with lots of sleep in between, but it's 9 hours within 24 consecutive hours.

Aviatrix said...

Thanks Sulako, no thanks, spammer, and that's fricking deviously brilliant, Anonymous of 3:42: I can just imagine the look on my boss's face if I told him I couldn't do a 3-hour flight because I did a 6-hour one yesterday. Here I thought I was being paranoid coming up with an alternate interpretation of the regs, but yours is genius.

Soaring Student said...

Genius! Frickin deviously brilliant!! Too kind.....

How can you tell I used to umpire baseball, where a part of the culture is "if the rules don't prohibit it, then it is allowed" (until they change the rules over the winter). Unlike most other sports, where this is a specific rule which says that any attemnpt to evade the rules or the spirit of the rules is to be quashed by the referee/umpire. Which, as an umpire, always meant you had your radar on.

Anyway, in such a public forum and in the presence of such esteemed professionals, I didn't want to take the risk of appearing to be a dolt with a possibly dumb interpretation, and went anonymous.....

Anonymous said...

Check out Commercial and Business Aviation Policy Letter 162. It may help you out

Aviatrix said...

Anonymous of August 13th, you've just blown the doors of Anonymous of June 20th. Although it took a few months, a blog comment has provided me with just the information I was looking for. It's also quite surprising in its interpretation. I guess no more IFR departures if I'm supposed to work all day.