Flight and duty times of flight instructors in general aviation in New Zealand : a study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Aviation at Massey University
Flight Instructors that train pilots in the General Aviation arena are expected to perform to a high level at all times. Flight training is an intense activity during which the Flight Instructor is subject to many factors causing fatigue, both physiological and psychological, many of which may be outside their immediate control. Considerations such as low pay mean that Flight Instructors often work long hours and often have another job which adds to their time at work each day, resulting in a decrease in their time available for sleep. Although considerable research has been done on pilot fatigue in the Air Transport arena, particularly on long-haul pilots, there is a lack of information about fatigue in other areas, particularly where Flight Instructors are concerned, as they are not involved in Air Transport Operations. This study examines the potential for fatigue in Flight Instructors in the General Aviation industry in New Zealand. To achieve this a Questionnaire and Time Diary were developed, based on previously used materials, and adapted for use in the flight instruction environment. This enabled the flight and duty times of Flight Instructors to be recorded, and subsequent investigation of any preventative strategies or operational countermeasures currently being used to help prevent fatigue. Interviews were also carried out, and compared with the data from the Questionnaire and Time Diary. The results of the research found that despite recorded flight times not exceeding any nominated safe limits, duty times did, especially for Flight Instructors that had secondary employment outside the aviation industry.