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Do Pilots Ever Fall Asleep in the Air?

Over half of pilots ever fall asleep in the air, according to a 2013 survey conducted by the British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA). Fifty-six percent of pilots reported falling asleep when they were flying a plane. Just over a quarter of pilots who have fallen asleep surveyed that their co-pilots had been asleep at the same time as them, leaving the plane on autopilot unattended. Pilot fatigue is considered the biggest issue impacting airplane travel safety among pilots themselves, at triple the rate of any other factor. Public safety advocates believe that regulations increasing the required amount of time off between flights would limit pilot tiredness and prevent compromising their abilities to fly safely.

More about aviation:

  • Pilots who are on duty for over 13 hours at a time have a five and a half times increased likelihood of getting into an accident.

  • Flying is actually among the safest modes of transportation, with the chances of dying in a plane accident at 1 out of 45 million flights.

  • The accident rate for air travel decreased by 95% from 1930 to 2008. In the early history of aviation, there was an accident rate of 125 out of every 100,000 flight hours in 1938.

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