The dangers of pilot fatigue should be clear to any observer, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has specific rules and regulations aimed at minimizing any chance that fatigue could lead to any potential pilot error.
The particular regulations regarding Flight Time Limitations that apply to unscheduled one- and two-pilot crews are found in FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) Part 135, specifically section 135.267. Part 135 governs all jet charter flights, though as we have explained previously there are still operators who fly illegal jet charters under the less stringent Part 91. Know that all of these restrictions are placed directly by the FAA and not by any charter company or operator, who have no say in their application.
The first set of time limitations listed in this section are cumulative in nature. They state that no certificate holder may assign any flight crewmember (and no flight crewmember may accept an assignment) for flight time as a member of a one- or two-pilot crew if their total flight time in all commercial flying will exceed 500 hours in any calendar quarter, 800 hours in any two consecutive calendar quarters, or 1,400 hours in any calendar year. Additionally, every certificate holder must provide each crewmember with at least 13 rest periods of at least 24 consecutive hours each in each calendar quarter. These cumulative limits are in place to avoid the long-term build-up of fatigue that might occur over time, even when a pilot completely adheres to daily flight limits.
Regarding those day-to-day flight limits, the rules then state that during any 24 consecutive hours the total flight time may not exceed 10 hours for a flight crew consisting of two pilots. These 10 hours include any commercial flying that they may do, even as passengers, as this still puts demands and strains upon them that should be considered. Since Stratos Jet Charters will always have two pilots in command for every flight that we charter, it’s not necessary to detail the rules that pertain to one pilot here.
There are some exceptions to this 24/10 rule if the pilot’s duty period is immediately preceded by AND followed by a required rest period of at least 10 consecutive hours of rest. This ensures that proper rest is provided even when limits might be exceeded.
Also, when a flight crewmember has exceeded the daily flight time limitations because of circumstances beyond their control, such as adverse weather conditions, the rest periods required before they can be assigned again increase from the minimum 10 consecutive hours of rest, going all the way up to a maximum of 16 hours.
Flight time limitations and rest requirements are critical to maintaining the highest levels of flying safety for flight crew and their passengers. At Stratos Jets, jet charter safety is our top priority, every day. This is why we require that the Captain of every flight that we charter is ATP-rated, the highest level of pilot licensing in the United States, representing the most well-experienced and trained pilots in the nation.
Every one of our domestic jet flights is also audited by leading third-party auditors Wyvern and ARG/US, the highest standards for flying safety and excellence in the industry. We also impose strict pilot experience standards on our turbo-prop pilots. Unlike a number of competitors, we would also never work with any operator that was not 100% fully Part 135 compliant. Though we do not require a third-party audit of international vendors, many choose to voluntarily participate in the program. We also ensure that international vendors adhere to the foreign equivalent of Part 135 standards, having the appropriate Aircraft Operating Certificate (AOC) from the National Aviation Authority of their country or region of origin and/or operation.
The safe, secure and comfortable flying of our clients is something we take quite seriously. Helping you understand the flight time rules for your pilots in command is one of the ways we wish to educate you on the regulations and safeguards that are in place to ensure your safe travels with us.
When planning your next charter trip, call one of our experienced air charter agents at Stratos Jet Charters at 888.478.7286 to provide you with a quote and to help arrange your flight. We promise the best available jet charter rates on the safest, most comfortable and appropriate aircraft for your charter itinerary. We are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can arrange your flight with as little as four hours’ notice.