The FAA has promised to address pilot fatigue soon with a new rule.

Fatigue Expert Nominated to NTSB

Mark R. Rosekind, Ph.D., president and chief scientist of Alertness Solutions, has been nominated for a term lasting until Dec. 31, 2014.

The government's attention to fatigue has been increasing recently, with Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt creating a committee to develop recommendations for a new rule governing how much flying and duty time commercial airline pilots can log. On Thursday, the White House announced the president has submitted the nomination of a fatigue expert, Mark R. Rosekind, to the U.S. Senate. Rosekind, Ph.D., president and chief scientist of Alertness Solutions since 1998, has been nominated for a term on the National Transportation Safety Board that lasts until Dec. 31, 2014.

NTSB's Most Wanted list of aviation safety improvements still lists as "unacceptable response" by FAA an item titled "Reduce Accidents and Incidents Caused by Human Fatigue." The two requested elements in this item are setting work hours for flight crews, aviation mechanics, and air traffic controllers based on fatigue research, circadian rhythms, and sleep and rest requirements -- areas in which Rosekind is a recognized expert; and develop a fatigue awareness and countermeasures program for air traffic controllers. The Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, N.Y., in February 2009, depicted in this NTSB animation, is one of the most recent aviation incidents investigated by NTSB in which fatigue was identified as a factor.

Rosekind is one of several former NASA scientists who founded the California company. Its Web site says his Ph.D. is from Yale University, and he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in sleep and chronobiology at Brown University before becoming director of the Center for Human Sleep Research, a program of the Stanford University Sleep Disorders and Research Center. He headed the Fatigue Countermeasures Program at the NASA Ames Research Center and served as chief of the Aviation Operations Branch in the NASA Ames Flight Management and Human Factors Division.

A November 2005 document on NTSB's site indicates Rosekind has been a consultant for the safety agency and has taught an "Investigating Human Fatigue Factors" course for the NTSB Academy.

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