Russian RT television channel has released details from an aviation safety report from the Dubai-based FlyDubai airline showing that both the captain and the co-pilot of a plane on a commercial route fell asleep during one of the flights, leaving nobody in command of the aircraft.
According to the report titled Air Safety Report Bulletin from June 2015, which was sent to RT by the captain, the incident happened on a night flight from the Pakistani city of Multan to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“The last thing I remember was crossing FL260 [26k feet]. When I open my eyes we were level at FL340 for a few minutes ago… When I turn to see the FO [first officer, or co-pilot] to apologize he was completely asleep. Nobody was in command of the airplane for at least 8 minutes, and this is very dangerous,” the captain wrote in the report.
The captain stressed that sleep was a physiological need, going on to describe how fatigued he felt from a lack of proper rest and detailing his tight schedule.
RT recently reported that an ex-Emirates pilot that the company forces its pilots to take heavy workloads by “bullying” them into accepting tough rosters.
The pilot also stressed that first officers “are bullied into not calling sick or they risk losing” an opportunity to be promoted to captains.
“We expect you to fly your roster,” the company’s official told him once, bluntly adding that “if it is too difficult to you, resign.” The pilot says he was addressing the hazards of operating a plane safely while tired.
The ex-Emirates employee described the company’s rosters as “brutal,” as the pilots are “expected to switch from day to night… duties without enough rest in between,” adding that he “loses several nights of sleep every month,” is “constantly tired,” and has “no energy to do anything.”
Moreover, the pilots at Emirates are assigned extra flight hours every time they take a leave or a training course. The pilot compared this situation to that of an office worker being asked “to come to work a few week-ends and nights because he is going on leave.”