Records show go! pilots had OK rest
The go! pilots being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration for possibly falling asleep on a Feb. 13 midmorning flight from Honolulu to Hilo had nearly 15 hours of rest prior to reporting to duty, according to an airline source -- nearly twice the amount of time required by federal regulations.
Both the captain and first officer finished their shift on Feb. 12 at 2:47 p.m. and didn't return to duty until 5:40 a.m. the next day, according to information obtained from flight logs of Mesa Air Group, the parent of go!
The data, provided by a source who requested anonymity, indicates that the pilots had 14 hours and 53 minutes of rest before their Feb. 13 flights. The data also shows that the captain had 14 hours and 55 minutes of rest in each of the prior two days, while the first officer had 38 hours and 52 minutes of rest and 14 hours and 55 minutes of rest, respectively, prior to duty on Feb. 11 and Feb. 12.
FAA regulations require a minimum of eight hours of rest prior to beginning flying duties.
The pilots were out of communication with air traffic control for 20 to 25 minutes, according to the FAA, and overshot Hilo Airport by 15 miles. The pilots subsequently made a return flight to Honolulu Airport following the incident, sources said.
In a memo to Mesa employees yesterday, the company said the captain of that flight has 25,000 hours total flight experience and 8,000 hours on the CRJ. The first officer -- the co-pilot -- has 1,250 flight hours with 500 hours on the CRJ.
In the wake of that ongoing investigation, the FAA is now looking into another communication blackout involving go! flight 1015 that flew from Kona to Honolulu the day before the Feb. 13 incident. The control tower lost communication with the pilots for about 14 minutes, FAA spokesmen Warren Woodberry said.
Mesa spokesman Paul Skellon said the Feb. 12 incident "is being reviewed."
Hilo Airport Air Traffic Manager Ray Robinson said in the Feb. 13 incident that the controller in Honolulu was trying to contact the pilots "and didn't get any answers."
Pilot rest and fatigue has been a key issue in the current contract negotiations between the airline and the Mesa unit of the Air Line Pilots Association.
"It is probably one of the primary concerns in negotiations -- scheduling and pilot fatigue," said Michael Jayson, chairman of Mesa's ALPA unit. "We strongly feel that just because something is FAR (Federal Aviation Regulations) legal, that doesn't make it safe."