Here’s a thoughtful, educational, and alarming article about the issue of napping pilots by James Wallace at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
In addition to recounting the details of the Go! airline pilots that fell asleep on their way from Honolulu to Hilo, Hawaii last February, Wallace describes a NASA study conducted to determine if intentional napping could help pilots stay alert.
Bottom line: napping helps.
But – here’s the scary part – Wallace also describes a recent suit filed against the FAA by seven U.S. carriers (including Continental, United, American, JetBlue and US Airways) over new requirements that require extra rest for crews on ulta-long-range flights.
Bottom line: it may be time to put espresso bars on airplanes.