An airline cockpit can be a busy place, especially on a short flight. It can also be a boring place with long flights over oceans and hours long stretches without a lot to do. Both scenarios can make pilots tired. A ground breaking study is under way to learn how to keep pilots alert.
Boeing is always looking for ways to make flying safer and an alert pilot is a safer pilot. Concern has also been growing about pilot fatigue at the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board leading to new rules on pilot duty time.
But while getting tired seems like such a simple thing, figuring out just why pilots get tired and what can be cone to prevent fatigue is much more complicated.
The research program is expected to run another year using pilots from Delta Airlines. While there are no conclusions yet, the program could see a future where sensors that monitor signs of fatigue like eye movement could warn pilots they are becoming tired even before they realize it.