[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 43 (Tuesday, March 5, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 14166-14179]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05083]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 117 and 121

[Docket No. FAA-2012-0358]


Clarification of Flight, Duty, and Rest Requirements

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT.

ACTION: Clarification.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The FAA published a final rule on January 4, 2012, that amends 
the existing flight, duty and rest regulations applicable to 
certificate holders and their flightcrew members. Since then, the FAA 
has received numerous questions about the new flight, duty, and rest 
rule. This is a response to those questions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For technical questions, contact Dale 
E. Roberts, Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, 
Federal Aviation Administration; email dale.e.roberts@faa.gov. For 
legal questions, contact Robert Frenzel, Regulations Division, Office 
of the Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration; email 
robert.frenzel@faa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    On January 4, 2012, the FAA published a final rule entitled,

[[Page 14167]]

``Flightcrew Member Duty and Rest Requirements'' (77 FR 330). In that 
rule, the FAA created new part 117, which replaces the existing flight, 
duty, and rest regulations, contained in Subparts Q, R, and S, for part 
121 passenger operations. As part of this rulemaking, the FAA also 
applied the new 14 CFR part 117 to certain 14 CFR part 91 operations, 
and permitted all-cargo operations operating under 14 CFR part 121 to 
voluntarily opt into the part 117 flight, duty, and rest regulations.
    On April 5, 2012, the FAA published a notice explaining the 
procedures for submitting clarifying questions concerning these flight, 
duty, and rest regulations.\1\ Since then, the FAA received numerous 
questions concerning the new regulations. This is a response to those 
questions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ 77 FR 20530 (Apr. 5, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Discussion

A. Applicability

i. Applicability of Previous Flight, Duty, and Rest Interpretations to 
Part 117
    Airlines for America (A4A) asked whether previous interpretations 
of the part 121 flight, duty, and rest rules are applicable to part 
117.
    Part 117 creates a new flight, duty, and rest regulatory scheme for 
part 121 passenger operations. As such, some interpretations of the 
regulatory scheme that preceded part 117 may have limited or no 
applicability to the provisions of part 117. The FAA will decide on a 
case-by-case basis to what extent an existing flight, duty, and rest 
interpretation applies to part 117.
ii. Voluntary Implementation of Part 117 Before January 4, 2014
    A4A asked whether carriers can implement more restrictive portions 
of part 117 before the effective date of the final rule that created 
part 117.
    The flight, duty, and rest rule that created part 117 will become 
effective on January 4, 2014.\2\ Until then, passenger operations 
operating under part 121 must comply with the flight, duty, and rest 
requirements set out in Subparts Q, R, and S of part 121. If a carrier 
wishes to voluntarily comply with a provision of part 117 before 
January 4, 2014, the carrier can do so as long as it also remains 
compliant with the provisions of Subparts Q, R, and S as applicable.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ See 77 FR 28763 (May 16, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For example, 14 CFR 121.471(b) and (c) specify the amount of rest 
that a flight crewmember on a domestic operation must receive in a 24-
hour period. However, these subsections do not require that the rest 
period include an 8-hour sleep opportunity. Conversely, Sec.  117.25(e) 
and (f) \3\ will require that a rest period have an 8-hour 
uninterrupted sleep opportunity when part 117 becomes effective. Thus, 
a certificate holder operating a domestic operation who wishes to 
voluntarily ensure that its flight crewmembers have an 8-hour sleep 
opportunity during a rest period can do so because the sleep 
opportunity will not violate the provisions of Sec.  121.471(b) and 
(c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ The regulatory provisions of part 117 can be found at 77 FR 
398 (Jan. 4, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA emphasizes, however, that, before January 4, 2014, a 
certificate holder can only comply with those provisions of part 117 
that do not contradict the requirements of Subparts Q, R, and S. For 
example, a certificate holder who wishes to engage in augmentation on 
domestic flights cannot do so before January 4, 2014, because, even 
though part 117 permits domestic augmentation, Subpart Q, which governs 
domestic operations, does not allow domestic augmentation. Likewise, a 
certificate holder operating supplemental passenger flights who wishes 
to avoid the compensatory rest requirements of Subpart S cannot rely on 
part 117 to do so before January 2014 because, even though part 117 
largely eliminates compensatory rest, part 117 does not become 
effective until January 2014.
iii. Part 91 Flights
    Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) and an individual 
commenter asked what amount of rest is necessary between a part 121 
passenger flight and a part 91 ferry flight so that the part 91 flight 
does not have to function under part 117. ALPA asked whether part 91 
operations that are not conducted under part 117 count toward the 
cumulative limits of part 117. Alaska Air asked whether a pilot who is 
only assigned part 91 flights (and does not have any part 121 
assignments) is subject to part 117.
    Part 117 applies to all part 91 operations (other than Part 91 
Subpart K) that are directed by a part 121 certificate holder ``if any 
segment'' is conducted as a part 121 passenger flight.\4\ Part 117 also 
applies to all flightcrew members who are participating in a part 91 
operation (other than Part 91 Subpart K) on behalf of a part 121 
certificate holder ``if any flight segment'' is conducted as a part 121 
passenger flight.\5\ As an initial matter, we note that a flightcrew 
member who flies only on part 91 operations is not subject to part 
117.\6\ In addition, because part 117 does not apply to part 91 
operations that are not conducted by or on behalf of a part 121 
certificate holder, the remainder of this answer discusses part 91 
operations that are conducted by or on behalf of a part 121 certificate 
holder. This answer also assumes that the part 91 operations it 
discusses are not conducted under Subpart K of part 91.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ 14 CFR 117.1(b).
    \5\ 14 CFR 117.1(c).
    \6\ See 77 FR at 336 (stating that ``pilots flying only part 91 
passenger operations * * * are not subject to the provisions of this 
rule'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The definition of flight duty period (FDP) in part 117 specifies 
that two flight segments are part of the same FDP if a ``required 
intervening rest period'' has not been provided between those flight 
segments.\7\ A ``required intervening rest period'' is the rest period 
that is specified in Sec.  117.25. Pursuant to Sec.  117.25(e), that 
rest period must be 10 consecutive hours of rest with an 8-hour 
uninterrupted sleep opportunity. However, depending on the specific 
nature of an individual flightcrew member's schedule, the other 
subsections of Sec.  117.25 may require a longer rest period. For 
example, if a flightcrew member has not been provided 30 consecutive 
hours of rest in the preceding 168-hour period, the ``required 
intervening rest period'' would be 30 consecutive hours pursuant to 
Sec.  117.25(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ See 14 CFR 117.3, Flight Duty Period (stating that 
activities that occur between flight segments are part of the FDP 
unless a required intervening rest period has been provided).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Applying this discussion to the questions raised above, if a 
flightcrew member flies a part 121 passenger flight segment and a part 
91 ferry flight segment without being provided an intervening rest 
period that satisfies Sec.  117.25, those flight segments would be part 
of the same FDP.\8\ Consequently, just like the part 121 passenger 
flights, the part 91 ferry flight segment would have to be conducted 
under the flight, duty, and rest rules of part 117.\9\ However, if a 
flightcrew member is provided with the rest period specified in Sec.  
117.25 between the part 91 ferry flight segment and the part 121 
passenger flight segment, those flight segments would not be part of 
the same FDP. In that case, the part 91 ferry flight segment would not 
be subject to the flight, duty, and rest provisions of part 117. For 
purposes of this analysis, it is irrelevant whether the part 91 ferry 
flight segment takes place before or after the part 121 passenger 
flight segment--what matters is whether a rest period

[[Page 14168]]

that satisfies Sec.  117.25 was provided between the two flight 
segments.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ See Sec.  117.3 (definition of flight duty period).
    \9\ See Sec.  117.1(b) and (c).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We note, however, that the cumulative limitations set out in Sec.  
117.23 include ``all flying by flightcrew members on behalf of any 
certificate holder or 91K Program Manager.'' \10\ Thus, even if a part 
91 flight is not operated pursuant to part 117, that flight still 
counts for purposes of the cumulative limitations of part 117 if it is 
flown on behalf of a certificate holder or 91K Program Manager.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ Sec.  117.23(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

B. Definitions

i. Deadhead Transportation
1. Length of Deadhead
    The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) asked whether a 
flightcrew member could deadhead beyond the limits of Table B. SWAPA 
also asked whether there was a limit to the period of time that a 
flightcrew could be engaged in deadhead transportation at the 
conclusion of an FDP.
    Pursuant to the definition of FDP in Sec.  117.3, deadhead 
transportation that is followed by a flight segment without an 
intervening rest period is part of an FDP and is subject to the FDP 
limits in Tables B and C. All other deadhead transportation is not part 
of an FDP and is not subject to any limits under part 117. However, if 
the deadhead transportation exceeds the limits of Table B, Sec.  
117.25(g) requires that the flightcrew member engaging in the deadhead 
transportation be provided with a compensatory rest period before 
beginning his/her next FDP.
2. Transportation to a Suitable Accommodation
    ALPA asked whether there is a limit to how far a drive can be to 
still be considered transportation to/from a suitable accommodation.
    The definition of deadhead transportation in Sec.  117.3 states 
that ``transportation to or from a suitable accommodation'' is not 
deadhead transportation. ``Transportation to or from a suitable 
accommodation'' refers to transportation that is conducted for the 
purposes of a split-duty or mid-duty rest pursuant to Sec.  117.15 and/
or Sec.  117.27. While this type of transportation is not deadhead 
transportation, it is part of an FDP as split-duty and mid-duty rest 
take place between flight segments. Accordingly, transportation for 
split-duty and mid-duty rest would be limited by the pertinent FDP 
limits.
    The FAA emphasizes that transportation provided for a rest period 
required by Sec.  117.25 would not be considered ``transportation to or 
from a suitable accommodation'' for deadhead purposes because there is 
no requirement in Sec.  117.25 that rest periods must be provided in a 
suitable accommodation.
ii. Duty
1. Collective Bargaining Agreement Requirement
    A4A asked whether a requirement in the collective bargaining 
agreement to check a schedule or calendar, or to acknowledge a trip 
assignment, is considered duty.
    Section 117.3 defines duty as ``any task that a flightcrew member 
performs as required by the certificate holder * * *'' Thus, if a 
certificate holder requires that a flightcrew member check a schedule 
or calendar, or acknowledge a trip assignment, then the flightcrew 
member's compliance with that requirement would be considered duty. The 
collective bargaining agreement has no impact on this analysis, as this 
agreement simply provides the legal basis for the certificate holder to 
require a flightcrew member to perform certain actions.
2. Limitations on Duty
    SWAPA asked whether there are any limits on duty aside from the FDP 
limitations.
    The flight, duty, and rest notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) 
proposed a set of cumulative duty-period limits. However, in response 
to comments, the final rule eliminated those limits.\11\ As such, duty 
periods that are not part of an FDP are only limited to the extent that 
they may cause a flightcrew member to be too tired to safely perform 
his or her assigned duties.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ See 77 FR at 379.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

iii Flight Duty Period (FDP)
1. Type of Duty That Is Included in an FDP
    SWAPA asked for clarification about the type of duty that is part 
of an FDP. SWAPA provided the following three types of duty as 
examples, and it asked which of these examples would be part of an FDP: 
(1) duty prior to an FDP; (2) duty after an FDP; and (3) flight 
training device duty after an FDP.
    The definition of FDP in Sec.  117.3 states that ``[a] flight duty 
period includes the duties performed by the flightcrew member on behalf 
of the certificate holder that occur before a flight segment or between 
flight segments without a required intervening rest period.'' Thus, 
duty that occurs prior to an FDP is part of that FDP if there is no 
required intervening rest period between the duty and the flight 
segments that make up the FDP. Duty that takes place after an FDP, such 
as flight training device duty, is not part of an FDP, as it does not 
occur before a flight segment or between flight segments.
2. Meaning of ``Futher Aircraft Movement''
    Horizon Air (Horizon) and Regional Airline Association (RAA) asked 
whether the phrase ``further aircraft movement'' in the FDP definition 
meant movement for the purpose of flight. These commenters provided the 
following example. An aircraft is parked following the last flight and 
passengers deplane. The pilot then repositions the aircraft on the 
ground to a hangar. The commenters asked whether, in this situation, 
the FDP ends when the aircraft is first parked and deplaned. Another 
commenter, Alaska Air, asked whether time spent repositioning a plane 
from customs to a domestic gate would be part of an FDP.
    The definition of FDP in Sec.  117.3 states that an FDP ends ``when 
the aircraft is parked after the last flight and there is no intention 
for further aircraft movement by the same flightcrew member.'' The 
phrase ``further aircraft movement'' in the FDP definition does not say 
that the movement must be for the purpose of flight. Rather, any 
aircraft movement by the flightcrew member is part of that flightcrew 
member's FDP. Thus, moving the aircraft between different gates or 
moving the aircraft to a hangar would be considered ``aircraft 
movement'' and it would be part of a flightcrew member's FDP.
iv. Physiological Night's Rest
    Allied Pilots Association (APA) asked whether the 8-hour sleep 
opportunity required by Sec.  117.25 must take place between the hours 
of 0100 and 0700.
    Subsections (e) and (f) of Sec.  117.25 require that immediately 
prior to beginning an FDP, a flightcrew member must be provided with a 
10-hour rest period that includes an 8-hour uninterrupted sleep 
opportunity. These subsections do not require that the 8-hour sleep 
opportunity take place during a specific time of day--they simply 
require that an 8-hour sleep opportunity be provided at some point 
during the 10-hour rest period.
v. Rest Facility
    A4A asked about the publication date of Advisory Circular (AC) 121-
31 Flightcrew Sleeping Quarters and Rest

[[Page 14169]]

Facilities. A4A also asked: (1) What the approval process will be like 
for rest facilities; and (2) what constitutes ``near flat'' for 
purposes of the Class 2 rest facility definition.
    The AC that provides guidance for rest facilities has been renamed 
as AC 117-1, and was published on September 19, 2012. This AC discusses 
what ``near flat'' means for purposes of qualifying a rest facility as 
Class 2. As far as the approval process for rest facilities, the FAA 
will approve rest facilities through an Operation Specification 
(OpSpec) that will specify the class(es) of rest facility that are 
inside a certificate holder's aircraft.
vi. Suitable Accommodation
    APA asked whether a layover facility could be a suitable 
accommodation. APA also asked whether a room that has multiple 
reclining chairs with multiple individuals resting could be a suitable 
accommodation.
    A layover facility could be a suitable accommodation if it meets 
the definition of suitable accommodation set out in Sec.  117.3. A room 
that has multiple reclining chairs with multiple individuals resting 
could also be a suitable accommodation if it meets the suitable 
accommodation requirements of Sec.  117.3. The FAA emphasizes that the 
definition of suitable accommodation in Sec.  117.3 does not require 
that access to a suitable accommodation be limited so that only one 
person can use it at any given time.

 C. Fitness for Duty

i. Means of Certification
    A4A and Alaska Air asked whether flightcrew members could use 
electronic means, such as Aircraft Communications Addressing and 
Reporting System (ACARS) and cell phone applications, to certify their 
fitness for duty.
    Subsection 117.5(d) states that ``[a]s part of the dispatch or 
flight release, as applicable, each flightcrew member must 
affirmatively state he or she is fit for duty prior to commencing 
flight.'' This subsection does not preclude a flightcrew member from 
making his/her fitness for duty statement through electronic means. 
However, the preamble to the final rule explains that the fitness for 
duty statement ``must be signed by each flightcrew member.'' \12\ 
Accordingly, if a flightcrew member chooses to submit his/her fitness 
for duty statement through electronic means, that flightcrew member 
would have to electronically sign the statement and the electronic 
signature would have to comply with the pertinent electronic signature 
requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ 77 FR at 350.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ii. Certifying as to Specific Flight Segments
    Horizon and RAA were concerned with the following scenario. A pilot 
reports fit for an FDP that includes 6 flight segments. After the 
fourth flight segment, the pilot notifies the company that he will be 
too fatigued to fly the sixth flight segment, but will be fit to fly 
the fifth flight segment. Horizon and RAA asked whether Sec.  117.5(c) 
allowed the company to permit the pilot to fly the fifth flight 
segment.
    Section 117.5 places a joint responsibility for fitness for duty on 
the certificate holder and the flightcrew member. The flightcrew member 
must: (1) Report for an FDP ``rested and prepared to perform his/her 
duties;'' (2) sign a statement before beginning a flight segment 
affirmatively stating that he or she is fit for duty; and (3) 
immediately notify the certificate holder if he/she is too fatigued to 
perform the assigned duties. For its part, the certificate holder must: 
(1) ``Provide the flightcrew member with a meaningful rest opportunity 
that will allow the flightcrew member to get the proper amount of 
sleep;'' \13\ (2) immediately terminate a flightcrew member's FDP if 
the flightcrew member does not affirmatively state before beginning a 
flight segment that he/she is fit to safely perform the assigned 
duties; and (3) immediately terminate a flightcrew member's FDP if the 
flightcrew member informs the certificate holder that he/she is too 
tired to safely perform the assigned duties.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ 77 FR at 349.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the example provided by Horizon and RAA, a flightcrew member 
certifies, pursuant to Sec.  117.5(d), that he is fit to fly the fifth 
flight segment but will not be fit to fly the sixth flight segment. 
Because Sec.  117.5 does not require a certificate holder to second-
guess a fitness-for-duty certification made by a flightcrew member, the 
company would not violate Sec.  117.5(c) if it permits the flightcrew 
member to take off on the fifth flight segment. However, the FAA 
emphasizes that the flightcrew member in this example would be in 
violation of Sec.  117.5 if he certifies that he is fit for duty when 
he is actually too tired to safely perform the assigned duties.
    The FAA also cautions certificate holders that, as the preamble to 
the final rule explains, ``there are objective signs that could be used 
to identify crewmember fatigue.'' \14\ ``The FAA has simply chosen not 
to impose a mandatory regulatory requirement because the signs used to 
identify fatigue cannot be synthesized into a general objective 
standard.'' \15\ Thus, Sec.  117.5 should not be read as prohibiting a 
certificate holder from voluntarily terminating the FDP of a fatigued 
flightcrew member who does not self-report his/her fatigue. Indeed, the 
FAA strongly encourages certificate holders to voluntarily terminate 
the FDPs of flightcrew members who are showing signs of fatigue.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ 77 FR at 349.
    \15\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS)

i. Scope of an FRMS
    ALPA also asked: (1) Whether a certificate holder could use an FRMS 
to avoid a large portion of part 117 (e.g. all of Table A); (2) whether 
FRMS authorization is applied on a route-specific basis; (3) whether 
route-specific data could be used to justify an FRMS on another route; 
and (4) whether each certificate holder's FRMS request must be 
supported by data that is specific to that certificate holder.
    Section 117.7 permits a certificate holder to exceed the provisions 
of part 117 pursuant to a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) ``that 
provides for an equivalent level of safety against fatigue-related 
accidents or incidents.'' The preamble to the final rule clarifies that 
``a certificate holder may use an FRMS for any of the elements of the 
flight and duty requirements provided under this rule.'' \16\ Thus, a 
certificate holder can submit a wide range of FRMS requests ranging 
from narrow requests concerning a specific route to broad requests that 
seek to establish alternatives to large portions of part 117. However, 
because an FRMS request has to be supported by evidence showing an 
equivalent level of safety if the FRMS is approved, a broad FRMS will 
likely be more difficult to obtain than a narrow FRMS.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ 77 FR at 354.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The specific data that could be used to support an FRMS request 
would depend on the nature of the request and the nature of the 
certificate holder's operations. While certificate holders are not 
prohibited from using each other's data for an FRMS request, the FAA 
plans to evaluate each certificate holder's FRMS request on an 
individual basis. Because of the differences between certificate 
holders' specific operations, the FAA expects that each FRMS request 
will be tailored to the

[[Page 14170]]

requesting certificate holder's operations, and the FAA will not allow 
multiple certificate holders to operate under the same FRMS.
ii. Implementing an FRMS Before January 4, 2014
    ALPA asked whether a certificate holder could implement an FRMS 
before January 4, 2014.
    The final rule that created the FRMS alternative for the flight, 
duty, and rest requirements in parts 117 and 121 will not become 
effective until January 4, 2014.\17\ While certificate holders can 
immediately begin gathering data that will be used to support an FRMS 
request, the FAA cannot actually approve an FRMS until the pertinent 
regulations become effective, which will be January 4, 2014.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ See 77 FR 28763 (May 16, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 E. Fatigue Education and Awareness Training Program

i. Whether the Program Has To Be Approved or Accepted
    Alaska Air pointed out that Sec.  117.9(a) requires that a fatigue 
education and awareness training program must be approved by the FAA 
Administrator while Sec.  117.9(c) requires that updates to the program 
must be accepted by the FAA Administrator. Alaska Air asked whether the 
fatigue education and awareness training program has to be approved or 
accepted by the Administrator.
    Subsection 117.9(a) states that the initial fatigue education and 
awareness training program must be approved by the FAA and Sec.  
117.9(c)(1) states that updates to this program only need to be 
accepted by the FAA. The FAA considers a minor change to the program to 
be an update that does not need to go through the approval process. 
That is why Sec.  117.9(c) only requires FAA acceptance for these types 
of changes. Conversely, the initial fatigue education and awareness 
training program and all non-minor changes to that program must receive 
FAA approval per Sec.  117.9(a). The FAA emphasizes that a major change 
to the fatigue education and awareness training program would be 
considered a new program, and this change would have to be approved by 
the FAA before it is implemented.
ii. Whether Training Needs To Begin Before January 4, 2014
    A4A asked whether fatigue education and awareness training pursuant 
to Sec.  117.9 must begin before January 4, 2014.
    The final rule that created part 117 will not become effective 
until January 4, 2014.\18\ Accordingly, certificate holders are not 
required to comply with the fatigue education and training requirements 
of Sec.  117.9 until January 4, 2014. The FAA notes, however, that a 
part 121 certificate holder is currently responsible for fulfilling its 
obligations under its Fatigue Risk Management Plan.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ See 77 FR 28763 (May 16, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

iii. Completion Date for Initial Training
    Alaska Air asked about the deadline by which initial fatigue 
education and awareness training needs to be completed. Alaska Air also 
asked whether training under Sec.  117.9 is mandated every 12 months or 
every calendar year.
    Subsection 117.9(a) requires that the fatigue education and 
awareness training program must provide ``annual education and 
awareness training.'' The FAA interprets the word ``annual'' as 
referring to a 12-calendar-month period. Because the training must be 
provided on an annual basis, the initial fatigue education and 
awareness training must be completed within 12 calendar months after 
the certificate holder's program has been approved by the 
Administrator.
iv. Credit for Previously-Completed Training
    Alaska Air also asked whether credit would be provided for 
previously-completed training.
    The preamble to the final rule specifies that covered personnel do 
not need to repeat fatigue education and awareness training ``if that 
training meets the requirements of [Sec.  117.9].'' \19\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ See 77 FR at 352.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

F. Flight Time Limitations

    The FAA received a number of questions concerning FDP and flight 
time extensions. This section answers questions concerning the flight-
time extension. Discussion of FDP extensions is set out in another 
section.
i. Taking Off Knowing That the Flight Will Exceed Flight Time Limits
    A4A and ALPA asked whether a crew can depart if they show up to the 
airport and the weather conditions indicate that the flight will exceed 
flight time limits. SWAPA asked whether an aircraft must return to the 
gate if, after taxi out but prior to takeoff a flightcrew member is 
forecast to exceed flight time limits.
    Section 117.11 sets out the flight time limitations for augmented 
and unaugmented flights. Subsection 117.11(b) allows a flightcrew 
member to exceed these limitations to the extent necessary to safely 
land the aircraft at the next destination or alternate airport ``[i]f 
unforeseen operational circumstances arise after takeoff that are 
beyond the certificate holder's control.'' The preamble to the final 
rule explains that this exception was added to prevent diversions 
because ``[i]f unexpected circumstances significantly increase the 
length of the flight while the aircraft is in the air, the only way for 
a flightcrew member to comply with the flight-time limits imposed by 
this rule would be to conduct an emergency landing.'' \20\ However, the 
preamble emphasizes that ``this extension only applies to unexpected 
circumstances that arise after takeoff,'' and ``[i]f a flightcrew 
member becomes aware, before takeoff, that he or she will exceed the 
applicable flight-time limit, that flightcrew member may not take off, 
and must return to the gate.'' \21\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ 77 FR at 363.
    \21\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thus, if a flightcrew member finds out before takeoff that the 
flight segment that he/she is about to fly will cause him/her to exceed 
the flight time limits, that flightcrew member may not take off. It 
does not matter if the flightcrew member acquires this knowledge after 
taxi out because, as the preamble to the final rule explains, until the 
flightcrew member actually takes off from the airport, that flightcrew 
member is still able to return to the gate without a diversion. 
Accordingly, if a flightcrew member finds out after taxi out but before 
takeoff that the flight segment that he or she is about to fly will 
cause him/her to exceed the pertinent flight-time limit, that 
flightcrew member must return to the gate.
    SWAPA provided an example of a 4-leg FDP with a 9-hour flight-time 
limit in which the crew realizes, after Leg 2, that their total flight 
time will be 9 hours and 5 minutes if they complete the remaining two 
legs. SWAPA then asked whether the fligthcrew can depart on Leg 3 of 
this FDP. In response, the FAA notes that if completing Leg 3 of the 
scheduled FDP will not cause the flightcrew to exceed the 9-hour 
flight-time limit, then the flightcrew can take off on Leg 3.
    SWAPA and ALPA also provided another example. In this example, a 
flightcrew member exceeds the limits of Table A and lands at an 
alternate airport due to unforeseen operational circumstances that 
arose after takeoff and were beyond the certificate holder's control. 
SWAPA and ALPA asked whether the flightcrew member could,

[[Page 14171]]

after landing, proceed to a follow-on leg from the alternate airport to 
the original destination.
    As discussed above, a flightcrew member cannot take off on a flight 
segment if he knows that taking off on that flight segment will cause 
him to exceed the pertinent flight-time limit. In SWAPA and ALPA's 
example, a flightcrew member exceeds his flight-time limit while flying 
to an alternate airport. Thus, the flightcrew member will have already 
exceeded the pertinent flight-time limit upon landing at the alternate 
airport. Accordingly, once the flightcrew member lands at the alternate 
airport, that flightcrew member cannot commence any flight segments 
under part 117 until he/she receives a legal rest period.
ii. Flight Time During a Taxiing Delay
    APA provided three scenarios in which an aircraft, prior to 
takeoff, waits for an hour at a holding spot on a ramp and then takes 
off. In two of the scenarios, the aircraft: (1) Taxies to the holding 
spot under its own power, (2) shuts down its engines once it reaches 
the holding spot; and (3) restarts its engines, finishes taxiing, and 
takes off once the one-hour wait is over. In the third scenario, the 
aircraft is towed to the holding spot for the one-hour wait, and once 
the wait is over, restarts its engines and proceeds to taxi out and 
takeoff. APA asked whether there was any difference as far as how 
flight time is calculated for these three scenarios.
    Section 1.1 states that flight time ``commences when an aircraft 
moves under its own power for the purposes of flight and ends when the 
aircraft comes to rest after landing.'' The FAA has previously found 
that ``the time spent towing the airplane prior to the moment it first 
moves under its own power for the purpose of flight is not flight 
time.'' \22\ However, once the airplane moves under its own power with 
the intention to eventually take off, that movement is part of flight 
time even if the airplane shuts down its engines at some point during 
this process.\23\ Thus, the FAA concluded that if, before takeoff, an 
airplane taxies to a de-icing station on its own power, the de-icing 
procedures are part of flight time even if the airplane's engines are 
shut down during the de-icing process.\24\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ Letter to James W. Johnson from Donald Byrne, Assistant 
Chief Counsel (June 22, 2000) (quoting Memorandum to AGL-7, from 
Dewey R. Roark, Jr., Acting Associate General Counsel, Regulations 
and Codification Division (Oct. 18, 1972)).
    \23\ See Johnson Letter.
    \24\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Applying the above discussion to APA's scenarios, in the first two 
scenarios an airplane taxies to a holding spot under its own power with 
the intention of eventually taking off on a flight. In those two 
scenarios, the time spent taxiing to the holding spot and the time 
spent at the holding spot would be considered flight time. As the FAA's 
previous interpretations point out, the fact that the airplane shuts 
down its engines at the holding spot is irrelevant for flight time 
purposes, as the airplane has moved under its own power with the 
intention of eventually taking off. In APA's third scenario, the 
airplane is towed to the holding spot and does not arrive to that spot 
on its own power. In that scenario, the time spent towing the airplane 
and the time that the airplane spends at the holding spot would not be 
flight time because that time occurs prior to when the aircraft first 
moves under its own power.
iii. Repositioning From Customs to a Domestic Gate
    Alaska Air asked whether time spent repositioning a plane from 
customs to a domestic gate would constitute flight time. For purposes 
of this question, we will assume that everyone, including the 
flightcrew, exits the plane at the customs gate in order to go through 
customs and passport control.
    As discussed above, flight time ``commences when an aircraft moves 
under its own power for the purposes of flight and ends when the 
aircraft comes to rest after landing.''\25\ An empty plane that is 
parked at a customs gate has come to a rest. As such, the flight time 
from the previous flight segment flown by that airplane is no longer 
running, as the plane has come to a rest after landing. When the 
airplane is subsequently moved from customs to a domestic gate, that 
movement would not be for purposes of flight because the purpose of the 
movement would be to move the plane to another gate. Accordingly, in 
Alaska Air's scenario, moving an airplane from customs to a domestic 
gate after a flight would not constitute flight time. However, we note 
that, as discussed above, this movement would be part of a flightcrew 
member's FDP.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ See Sec.  1.1 (definition of flight time).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

G. Flight Duty Period: Unaugmented Operations

i. Adjusting FDP Start Time
    A number of commenters also asked whether FDP start time of a 
flightcrew member could be delayed by notifying that flightcrew member 
of the delay before beginning his/her FDP.
    In the preamble to the final flight, duty, and rest rule, the FAA 
stated that ``FDP limits are determined by scheduled reporting time and 
not by actual reporting time.''\26\ The scheduled reporting time for an 
FDP is created once that FDP has been assigned to a flightcrew member. 
In order to change this scheduled reporting time, the flightcrew member 
would have to be shifted into either long-call or short-call reserve 
for the pertinent FDP.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ 77 FR at 358.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If long-call reserve is used to change the FDP start time, the 
flightcrew member would have to be provided proper notification of the 
change to the previously-scheduled FDP. Pursuant to the definition of 
long-call reserve in Sec.  117.3, a flightcrew member on long-call 
reserve must be notified of the change to FDP start time before he or 
she begins the rest period specified in Sec.  117.25. In addition, if 
the FDP infringes on the window of circadian low (WOCL), Sec.  
117.21(d) requires that the flightcrew member receive a 12-hour notice 
of the change to the FDP start time.
    If short-call reserve is used to change the FDP start time, the 
flightcrew member would have to be placed on short-call reserve at the 
time that his FDP was originally scheduled to begin. In that scenario, 
instead of beginning an FDP at the originally-scheduled start time, the 
flightcrew member would simply begin his reserve availability period 
(RAP) pursuant to Sec.  117.21. The FAA emphasizes that if an FDP start 
time is not changed pursuant to the long-call or short-call reserve 
provisions of Sec.  117.21, then the FDP begins at the time that it was 
originally scheduled to begin.\27\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \27\ See id. (stating that an FDP begins to run at the time that 
it is scheduled to begin even if the flightcrew member arrives 
late).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ii. Adjusting the Number of Flight Segments
    A number of commenters asked whether a diversion on an unaugmented 
flight counts as a flight segment in Table B that would change a 
flightcrew member's maximum FDP limit. American Eagle (AE) asked 
whether cancelling previously-scheduled flight segments after an FDP 
has begun would affect the applicable FDP limit. Horizon asked whether 
a flight that is aborted after taxi out but before takeoff counts as a 
flight segment. Horizon also asked whether, in that situation, the 
taxi-out time would count as FDP and/or flight time.
    The unaugmented FDP limits in Table B are determined using two 
pieces of information: (1) The time that the FDP is scheduled to begin, 
and (2) the

[[Page 14172]]

number of flight segments that will be flown during the FDP. Once an 
FDP begins, the scheduled time of start cannot be changed, as that FDP 
has already started.\28\ However, a certificate holder can change the 
number of flight segments in an FDP after that FDP has started by 
either assigning the flightcrew members additional flight segments or 
cancelling previously-scheduled flight segments. A change in the number 
of flight segments assigned to a flightcrew member would change the 
pertinent FDP limit in Table B.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \28\ As discussed above, in order to change a previously-
scheduled FDP, a certificate holder must comply with the long-call-
reserve notice requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thus, a certificate holder could potentially decrease or increase 
the applicable FDP limit by assigning additional flight segments or 
cancelling previously-assigned flight segments. For example, consider a 
3-segment unaugmented FDP that begins at 1100. Pursuant to Table B, the 
FDP limit applicable to this FDP is 13 hours. However, if the 
certificate holder cancels one of the flight segments after the FDP 
begins, then the pertinent FDP limit would increase to 14 hours, as 
that is the limit that applies to a 2-segment unaugmented FDP that 
starts between 0700 and 1159.
    The FAA cautions that changing the number of flight segments may 
not always change the pertinent FDP limit. For example, a flightcrew 
member could be assigned to an unaugmented FDP consisting of four 
flight segments that begins at 0800. The applicable FDP limit for that 
FDP would be 13 hours. If a certificate holder subsequently cancels one 
of the four segments, the applicable FDP limit would still be 13 hours 
because Table B assigns the same FDP limit to three and four-segment 
FDPs that are scheduled to start between 0700 and 1159.
    Turning to diversions, the portion of the final rule preamble that 
discusses flight segments makes no mention of a diversion counting as a 
separate flight segment.\29\ Accordingly, because there was no intent 
to treat diversions as flight segments, a diversion does not constitute 
a new flight segment for purposes of part 117. However, we emphasize 
that, while a diversion may not count as a flight segment, the time 
spent on diversion would still count for purposes of the FDP and flight 
time limits. This is because the flight-time limit applies to all time 
that is spent piloting an aircraft and the FDP limit applies to all 
time between when a pilot first reports for duty with the intention of 
flying a plane and when the pilot completes his/her final flight 
segment.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ See 77 FR at 356-57.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    With regard to cancelled flights, if a flight is cancelled before 
takeoff, then it does not count as a segment for Table B purposes. This 
is because a flight segment consists of a takeoff and a landing, and 
the lack of a takeoff/landing means that there is no flight segment. 
However, the taxi out time for the cancelled flight segment would still 
constitute FDP time because the taxi out would have taken place after 
the flightcrew member reported for duty with the intention of 
conducting a flight.\30\ If the aircraft moved under its own power for 
the taxi out, then the taxi out would also count as flight time because 
the aircraft would have moved under its own power for purposes of 
flight.\31\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ See Sec.  117.3.
    \31\ See Sec.  1.1 (definition of flight time).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

H. Split Duty

i. Extending the 14-hour Split Duty Limit
    A4A asked whether the maximum 14-hour split duty limit could be 
extended. In response, the FAA notes that Sec.  117.15(f) explicitly 
states that the combined time of the FDP and the split-duty rest 
opportunity may not exceed 14 hours. Section Sec.  117.15 does not 
indicate that there are any exceptions to this 14-hour limit. Thus, if 
the combined split duty rest opportunity and FDP time of a flightcrew 
member exceeds 14 hours, then the amount of split duty rest that caused 
the exceedance would not count as split duty. Instead, this time would 
simply count as part of the flightcrew member's FDP, and it would be 
subject to the FDP extensions specified in Sec.  117.19.
ii. Actual Split Duty Rest Exceeding Scheduled Rest
    An individual commenter asked about a situation in which the actual 
split duty rest exceeds the scheduled split duty rest. The individual 
commenter asked whether in that situation it would be the actual or 
scheduled rest that would be considered split-duty rest under Sec.  
117.15.
    Subsection 117.15(d) states that the actual split-duty rest 
opportunity may not be less than the scheduled split-duty rest 
opportunity. However, Sec.  117.15 does not prohibit actual split-duty 
rest from exceeding the scheduled split-duty rest. If the actual split-
duty rest period exceeds the scheduled rest period, then the actual 
rest provided to the flightcrew member would be considered split-duty 
as long as that rest period is within the 14-hour limit specified in 
Sec.  117.15(f).
iii. Time Zone on Which Split Duty Rest is Based
    Horizon and RAA asked whether the time zone used for Sec.  
117.15(a) is determined using base/acclimated or local time.
    Subsection 117.15(a) states that the split-duty rest opportunity 
must be ``provided between the hours of 22:00 and 05:00 local time.'' 
(emphasis added). Thus, in order to determine compliance with Sec.  
117.15(a), the certificate holder must use local time at the location 
where the split-duty rest is being provided regardless of whether the 
flightcrew member is acclimated to the theater that encompasses that 
location.

 I. Flight Duty Period: Augmented Operations

i. Three-Flight-Segment Limit
    A4A and ALPA asked whether the three-flight-segment limit on 
augmented operations can be extended for diversions. ALPA also asked 
whether this limit could be extended if the diversion is for a fuel 
stop made necessary by winds or other operational issues.
    Subsection 117.17(d) prohibits an augmented FDP from exceeding 
three flight segments. However, as discussed above, a diversion is not 
a flight segment. Accordingly, a diversion would not count toward the 
3-segment limit that applies to augmented operations.
ii. Mixed Operations
    APA and ALPA asked whether augmentation could be used to increase 
the limits on an FDP that is already in progress. The FAA will assume 
that the FDP in question began as an unaugmented FDP.
    In the preamble to the final flight, duty, and rest rule, the FAA 
explained that ``if an FDP contains both an augmented and an 
unaugmented flight, that FDP is subject to the unaugmented FDP-limits 
set out in Table B and the unaugmented flight-time limits set out in 
Table A.'' \32\ Accordingly, an unaugmented flightcrew member's FDP 
limit cannot be increased by augmenting the flightcrew.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ 77 FR at 368.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

iii. Time Each Augmented Flightcrew Member Spends at the Controls
    ALPA asked whether there is any restriction on the amount of time 
that each flightcrew member on an augmented flightcrew can spend at the

[[Page 14173]]

controls of the aircraft. Subsection 117.17(c) states that the pilot 
flying the aircraft during landing must be provided with a two-
consecutive-hour in-flight rest opportunity in the second half of his/
her FDP. This subsection also states that the pilot performing 
monitoring duties during landing must be provided with a 90-
consecutive-minute in-flight rest opportunity. Apart from these 
required rest opportunities, there is no restriction as to the amount 
of time that a pilot can spend at the controls of an aircraft during an 
operation that meets the pertinent FDP, flight time, and cumulative 
limits.
iv. Broken Rest Facility
    ALPA asked a number of questions about how to treat a rest facility 
that is broken. First, ALPA asked whether an aircraft with a Class 3 
rest facility can continue to operate under the Class 3 augmented FDP 
limits if the designated rest seat is inoperative. Second, ALPA asked 
whether an aircraft with a Class 2 rest facility with a non-functional 
privacy curtain would be subject to the Class 2 or Class 3 augmented 
FDP limits.
    In order to qualify as a Class 1, 2, or 3 rest facility, a rest 
facility must meet the specific definition for the pertinent class of 
rest facility set out in Sec.  117.3. The definitions of rest facility 
in Sec.  117.3 presume that a rest facility is fully functional. Thus, 
if a required part of a rest facility stops functioning, the 
certificate holder would need to use the minimum-equipment-list (MEL) 
provisions of Sec.  121.628 in order to prevent a downgrade of that 
rest facility. If the non-functional part of the rest facility does not 
meet the pertinent MEL requirements, then that part cannot be used to 
meet the rest-facility standards set out in Sec.  117.3.
    Turning to ALPA's questions, Sec.  117.3 defines a Class 3 rest 
facility as ``a seat in an aircraft cabin or flight deck that reclines 
at least 40 degrees and provides leg and foot support.'' If a seat is 
inoperative and cannot recline at least 40 degrees, then, if it does 
not satisfy the MEL provisions of Sec.  121.628, that seat would not 
meet the requirements for a Class 3 rest facility. Similarly, Sec.  
117.3 states that a Class 2 rest facility must, among other things, be 
``separated from passengers by a minimum of a curtain to provide 
darkness and some sound mitigation.'' If a rest facility does not have 
a functional privacy curtain (or something similar) then, if it does 
not satisfy the MEL provisions of Sec.  121.628, that rest facility 
would not meet the requirements for a Class 2 rest facility. That rest 
facility may, however, meet the requirements for a Class 3 rest 
facility.

 J. Flight Duty Period Extensions

i. Determining Whether Pre or Post-Takeoff FDP Extension Applies
    SWAPA asked whether the final check for a pre-takeoff FDP extension 
is done prior to takeoff. SWAPA provided an example in which after 
taxiing but before takeoff a flightcrew member realizes that he/she 
will exceed the limit of Table B or C by over two hours. SWAPA asked 
whether the flightcrew member in that example must return to the gate 
instead of taking off.
    ALPA provided a scenario in which an FDP is scheduled near the FDP 
limit and the destination airport is forecast to be influenced by a 
typhoon. In that scenario, the certificate holder elects, before 
takeoff, to operate the flight as originally scheduled while 
simultaneously planning with a high degree of confidence for a 
diversion that would exceed the pertinent FDP limit. ALPA asked whether 
the certificate holder in this situation would be allowed to use the 
post-takeoff FDP extension.
    Section 117.19 provides for two ways to extend a flightcrew 
member's FDP: (1) A pre-takeoff FDP extension, and (2) a post-takeoff 
FDP extension. The post-takeoff FDP extension applies to an FDP in 
which a situation arises after takeoff that would cause a flightcrew 
member to exceed the pertinent FDP limit. This type of extension is 
more generous than a pre-takeoff FDP extension because once an airplane 
is in the air, ``the certificate holder and pilot in command have very 
little discretion concerning FDPs and flight time limits,'' as they 
cannot change the flightcrew while the plane is in the air.\33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \33\ 77 FR at 371.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    For situations that are known before takeoff, the more stringent 
pre-takeoff FDP extensions can be utilized. That is because the 
certificate holder and pilot in command have more options for dealing 
with unexpected situations that arise while the plane is still on the 
ground. Thus, the distinction between pre- and post-takeoff FDP 
extensions comes from determining whether the flightcrew member and 
certificate holder had a reasonable expectation before takeoff that the 
flight segment would be completed within the pertinent FDP limit.
    In SWAPA's example a flightcrew member realizes after taxi out but 
before takeoff that he will exceed the pertinent FDP limit by over two 
hours. In order for this flightcrew member to extend his FDP, he would 
need to use the pre-takeoff FDP extension because the plane was not 
airborne at the time that the flightcrew member realized that he would 
exceed the pertinent FDP limit. Since the pre-takeoff FDP extension is 
limited to two hours, the flightcrew member in SWAPA's example would be 
unable to commence a segment that exceeds his FDP limit by over two 
hours.
    Turning to ALPA's example, the certificate holder has a high degree 
of confidence, before takeoff, that the destination airport will be hit 
by a typhoon. As discussed above, in order to utilize the post-takeoff 
FDP extension, the flightcrew and certificate holder have to have a 
reasonable expectation, prior to takeoff, that they will complete the 
flight segment within the pertinent FDP limit. Because the certificate 
holder in this example has a high degree of confidence that the 
destination airport will be hit by a typhoon, that certificate holder 
does not have a reasonable expectation that the flight segment will be 
completed as scheduled. Accordingly, the certificate holder would need 
to utilize a pre-takeoff FDP extension in order for the flightcrew in 
this example to exceed the pertinent FDP limits.
ii. Diversions and FDP Extensions
    ALPA posed the following scenario. Unforeseen operational 
circumstances arise after takeoff that require a diversion to an 
alternate airport without an exceedance of the pertinent FDP limit. 
Once at the alternate airport, completion of the FDP to the intended 
destination will require an FDP extension. ALPA asked whether the post-
takeoff FDP extension would apply to this scenario. SWAPA posed an 
alternative scenario in which the flightcrew members' FDP is extended 
in-flight by over two hours during the diversion to an alternate 
airport. In this alternate scenario, SWAPA asked whether the flightcrew 
would have to immediately enter a rest period upon reaching the 
alternate airport.
    As discussed above, a post-takeoff FDP extension can be taken in 
response to a situation that arises after takeoff. However, under Sec.  
117.19(b)(1), the post-takeoff FDP extension only encompasses the time 
``necessary to safely land the aircraft at the next destination airport 
or alternate airport, as appropriate.'' Thus, the post-takeoff FDP 
extension terminates once the airplane has landed.
    Applying the above discussion to SWAPA's example, a situation 
arises mid-flight that requires a diversion. The diversion results in a 
flightcrew member exceeding his FDP limit by over two

[[Page 14174]]

hours. This exceedance is valid under the post-takeoff FDP extension 
because that extension permits a flightcrew member to finish the flight 
during which unexpected circumstances arose. However, the extension 
terminates once the flight lands at the destination or alternate 
airport. As such, the flightcrew member in SWAPA's example would have 
to terminate his FDP once he lands at the alternate airport because at 
that time he would have exceeded the pertinent FDP limit by over two 
hours and the post-takeoff FDP extension would cease applying once the 
plane has landed.
    Turning to ALPA's example, a flight is diverted but the diversion 
does not result in exceedance of the pertinent FDP limit. Because the 
flightcrew member's FDP does not need to be extended during the 
diversion, there is no need to utilize the post-takeoff FDP extension. 
Once the plane lands at the alternate airport, the PIC and certificate 
holder could utilize the pre-takeoff FDP extension to begin a new 
flight segment and fly the plane from the alternate airport to the 
destination airport. However, because the pre-takeoff FDP extension is 
limited to two hours, the certificate holder would be able to use this 
extension only if the new flight segment could be completed within the 
FDP-limit+two-hours timeframe.
iii. Exceeding the Cumulative Limits
    ALPA posed another scenario in which a flightcrew member's FDP was 
extended using a post-takeoff FDP extension. ALPA asked whether the 
post-takeoff FDP extension would extend the flightcrew member's 
cumulative limits for the duration of the flight or for the entire 
cumulative period in which the flight took place.
    Under Sec.  117.19(b)(3), a post-takeoff FDP extension allows a 
flightcrew member to exceed the cumulative FDP limits. However, as 
discussed above, a post-takeoff FDP extension is limited in that it 
expires once the airplane lands. Once the flight on which the post-
takeoff extension was used has been completed, the flightcrew member 
would again be bound by the cumulative FDP limitations. Thus, the post-
takeoff FDP extension allows a flightcrew member to exceed the 
cumulative FDP limits only to the extent necessary to complete the 
flight on which the extension is utilized.
iv. PIC Concurrence in FDP Extension
    ALPA asked whether the PIC needed to concur if the PIC does not 
need an FDP extension but another flightcrew member needs an FDP 
extension in order to finish the assigned schedule. ALPA also asked 
whether the PIC could concur on the condition that only one hour of the 
two-hour FDP extension is utilized. A4A asked whether carriers could 
use existing procedures for acknowledging joint responsibility between 
pilots and carriers for extensions that exceed 30 minutes.
    Under Sec.  117.19(a)(1) the ``pilot in command and the certificate 
holder'' must both concur in order to utilize an FDP extension. Thus, 
Sec.  117.19(a)(1) requires PIC concurrence for all FDP extensions 
taken pursuant to Sec.  117.19, even if the PIC is not the flightcrew 
member who is using the extension. If the PIC believes that the 
flightcrew is too fatigued for a two-hour FDP extension, the PIC could 
concur to a shorter FDP extension that he/she believes could safely be 
carried out by the flightcrew. We also note that, pursuant to Sec.  
117.5, each flightcrew member would also have to certify that he/she 
would not be too fatigued to operate the aircraft during the extension.
    A record of PIC concurrence can take any reasonable form as long as 
there is evidence that the PIC concurred with the extension. For 
example, the PIC could note his/her concurrence with an FDP extension 
on a flight release or in an ACARS message.
v. Using Multiple Extensions
    A4A, Alaska Air, and AE posed a scenario in which a flightcrew that 
has already used their over-30-minute FDP extension discovers, after 
takeoff, that they will need to again extend more than 30 minutes. The 
commenters asked whether the flightcrew in this scenario would need to 
divert in order to comply with the pertinent FDP limits.
    Under Sec.  117.19(a)(2) and (b)(2), an FDP extension of greater 
than 30 minutes can only be taken once before a flightcrew member is 
provided with 30 hours of rest pursuant to Sec.  117.25(b). Thus, the 
flightcrew and the certificate holder in the above example would be in 
violation of part 117 if the flightcrew exceeds the pertinent FDP 
limits. It is irrelevant that the exceedance in this example was caused 
by unexpected circumstances because, at the time of the exceedance, the 
flightcrew members had each already used up their one over-30-minutes 
FDP extension. Accordingly, once a flightcrew member uses up their FDP 
extension, the FAA strongly recommends that the certificate holder: (1) 
adds buffers to that crewmember's schedule to account for possible 
unexpected events; and (2) provides the crewmember with a 30-hour rest 
period as soon as possible in order to reset the FDP extension.

 K. Reserve

i. Airport Reserve
    APA asked whether the reserve period has to be physically located 
on airport property in order to be classified as airport/standby 
reserve. Horizon, Alaska Air, and RAA asked whether the time a pilot 
spends in airport reserve is considered FDP if that pilot does not 
pilot a flight during the reserve period.
    Section 117.3 defines airport/standby reserve as a ``duty period 
during which a flightcrew member is required by a certificate holder to 
be at an airport for a possible assignment.'' (emphasis added). In 
order to ``be at an airport,'' a flightcrew member would have to be 
physically located on airport property.
    Turning to Horizon, Alaska Air, and RAA's question, Sec.  117.21(b) 
states that ``[f]or airport/standby reserve, all time spent in a 
reserve status is part of the flightcrew member's flight duty period.'' 
Thus, all time that is spent on airport/standby reserve is part of a 
flightcrew member's FDP regardless of what happens during the airport/
standby reserve.
ii. Short-Call Reserve
1. Determining What FDP Limit Applies for Each FDP + Reserve Limit
    ALPA and RAA asked at what time does a flightcrew member enter FDP 
Table B or C in order to determine the FDP + RAP limit. AE asked 
whether the RAP is associated with each specific crewmember.
    The short-call reserve regulations in Sec.  117.21 limit the total 
number of hours that a flightcrew member on short call reserve may 
spend in a RAP and an FDP. For an augmented operation, under Sec.  
117.21(c)(4), the combined number of hours spent in a RAP and an FDP 
may not exceed the pertinent FDP limit in Table C plus four hours. For 
an unaugmented operation, under Sec.  117.21(c)(3), the combined number 
of hours spent in a RAP and FDP may not exceed the smaller of: (1) 
Pertinent FDP limit in Table B plus four hours; or (2) 16 hours.\34\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \34\ This is subject to the FDP extensions specified in Sec.  
117.19.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The RAP and RAP + FDP limits, as well as the other limits in Sec.  
117.21, apply to each flightcrew member individually. The pertinent FDP 
limit for the RAP + FDP regulations in Sec.  117.21 is determined using 
the time at which the FDP begins. The examples below help illustrate 
how the RAP + FDP limit works.
    For the first example, an acclimated flightcrew member begins a RAP 
at 0600. That flightcrew member is then

[[Page 14175]]

assigned to an unaugmented FDP that begins at 1200 and consists of two 
flight segments. According to Table B, the FDP limit for a two-segment 
FDP that begins at 1200 is 13 hours. The applicable 13-hour FDP limit 
plus 4 hours equals 17 hours. Because this is greater than 16 hours, 
under Sec.  117.21(c)(3), the pertinent RAP + FDP limit for this 
unaugmented operation is 16 hours. Given that the flightcrew member in 
this example began his RAP at 0600, he will have 6 hours of RAP time by 
the time his FDP will start at 1200. As a result, to stay within the 
16-hour RAP + FDP limit, this flightcrew member's FDP cannot exceed 10 
hours without an extension, as his RAP will use up 6 hours of the 16-
hour RAP + FDP limit.
    For the second example, an acclimated flightcrew member begins a 
RAP at 1100. That flightcrew member is then assigned to an unaugmented 
FDP consisting of five flight segments that begin at 1500. According to 
Table B, the FDP limit for a five-segment FDP that begins at 1500 is 
11.5 hours. The applicable 11.5-hour FDP limit plus 4 hours equals 15.5 
hours. Because this is smaller than 16 hours, under Sec.  117.21(c)(3), 
the pertinent FDP + RAP limit for this unaugmented operation is 15.5 
hours. Since the flightcrew member in this example began his RAP at 
1100, he will have 4 hours of RAP time by the time his FDP will start 
at 1500. Consequently, this flightcrew member can take the full 11.5-
hour FDP as the 11.5-hour FDP plus the 4 hours of RAP will not exceed 
the 15.5-hour RAP + FDP limit.
2. Rest Period Before Being Assigned A RAP
    RAA asked whether Sec.  117.21 allows a RAP to be assigned upon 
completion of a multi-day trip when the flightcrew member still has not 
reached the FDP limits specified in Table B. To illustrate its 
question, RAA provided the following scenario. A reserve pilot is 
assigned a three-day trip. On Day 3, he begins an FDP at 0700, and 
flies one flight segment until 1430. Upon completion of the one flight 
segment, the flightcrew member arrives back on base and the carrier 
assigns him 3 additional flight segments. RAA stated that the revised 
schedule would not exceed the pertinent FDP or flight time limitations, 
and it would also not exceed any cumulative limitations. RAA asked 
whether this schedule would be permissible under Sec.  117.21.
    Subsection 117.25(e) prohibits a flightcrew member from beginning a 
RAP unless that flightcrew member receives 10 hours of rest with an 8-
hour sleep opportunity immediately before the RAP. Thus, a flightcrew 
member cannot begin a RAP immediately after ending an FDP because that 
flightcrew member would not have received 10 hours of rest immediately 
before beginning the RAP.
    However, as discussed above, the number of flight segments in an 
FDP can be changed after an FDP begins. Thus, in RAA's example a 
certificate holder could utilize a flightcrew member's remaining 
allowable FDP time by adding three more flight segments to the 
flightcrew member's FDP. However, the FAA emphasizes that: (1) the 
addition of flight segments to an FDP will require a recalculation of 
the pertinent FDP limit in Table B using the updated number of flight 
segments; and (2) the flightcrew member will have to reaffirm his or 
her fitness for duty before beginning each flight segment.
3. Early Termination of a RAP
    APA asked whether a pilot could be released from a RAP early 
without serving the entire permitted RAP period. APA also asked whether 
there is a requirement for a pilot in these circumstances to receive a 
physiological night's rest. RAA provided an example in which a pilot is 
assigned a RAP of 0700 to 2100. At 0800, the air carrier contacts the 
pilot and notifies him that his RAP has ended. The carrier then 
notifies the pilot that he is being given 10 hours of rest, and that he 
will begin a new RAP at 1800. RAA asks whether the air carrier's 
actions in this scenario are permissible under part 117.
    The regulations in Sec.  117.21 do not prohibit a certificate 
holder from releasing a flightcrew member from a RAP early. Thus, a 
flightcrew member completes a RAP once he or she has been released from 
that RAP by the certificate holder. However, once the flightcrew member 
is released from a RAP, Sec.  117.25(e) requires that the flightcrew 
member be provided with 10 hours of rest that include 8 uninterrupted 
hours of sleep opportunity before the flightcrew member begins a new 
RAP. Section 117.25 does not require that this rest period be provided 
during a physiological night. Thus, RAA's example in which a 
certificate holder terminates a RAP early and then provides the 
flightcrew member with 10 hours of rest would be permissible under 
Sec.  117.21 and Sec.  117.25 because the certificate holder in that 
example would provide a legal rest period between two RAPs.
4. Additional Questions
    APA provided a scenario in which a pilot is assigned to a RAP. 
After 3 hours of being on-call during the RAP, the pilot is contacted 
to report for an FDP of 10 hours, all of which is in compliance with 
the pertinent provisions of part 117. APA asked how much of this time 
would count toward the cumulative FDP limitation of 60 hours in a 168-
hour period. APA also asked whether this answer would change if the FDP 
was assigned during airport reserve instead of short-call reserve.
    Short-call reserve consists of: (1) a RAP, and (2) an FDP if the 
FDP is assigned during the reserve. The RAP is not part of an FDP, and 
as such, the time spent on an FDP is the only aspect of short-call 
reserve that is counted toward the cumulative FDP limits. Thus, the 10 
hours that the pilot in APA's example spent on an FDP would count 
toward the cumulative FDP limits while the 3-hours that pilot spent on 
a RAP would not count toward those limits.
    This situation would change if the pilot was to be assigned to 
airport/standby reserve instead of short-call reserve. Under Sec.  
117.21(b), the entire time that is spent in airport/standby reserve is 
considered to be FDP. Thus, if the pilot in APA's example was to be 
assigned to airport/standby reserve, the entire 13 hours that he spends 
on reserve would be counted toward the cumulative FDP limits, as well 
as the daily FDP limits.
iii. Long-Call Reserve
    ALPA asked a number of questions about long-call reserve. First, 
ALPA asked whether, for long-call reserve that operates into the WOCL, 
the regulations require 12 hours of notice before beginning the FDP or 
12 hours of rest. Second, ALPA also asked whether the 12-hour notice is 
required for an FDP that starts during the WOCL. Third, ALPA asked 
whether the WOCL is determined using local time or last-acclimated 
time. Finally, ALPA asked whether this same 12-hour-notice requirement 
applied to short-call reserve.
    For long-call reserve, Sec.  117.21(d) requires that flightcrew 
members assigned to an FDP ``that will begin before and operate into 
the flightcrew member's window of circadian low * * * must receive a 12 
hour notice of report time from the certificate holder.'' Because this 
regulatory text specifies a ``notice of report time'' and does not set 
out any rest requirements, Sec.  117.21(d) only requires a 12-hour 
notice and not

[[Page 14176]]

a 12-hour rest period for long-call reserve that operates into the 
WOCL.
    In addition, the 12-hour notice requirement is only applicable to 
FDPs that ``begin before and operate into'' the WOCL. Thus, this 
requirement would not apply to an FDP that begins during the WOCL, as 
that FDP would not begin before the WOCL. The time zone from the 
flightcrew member's last-acclimated theater is used to determine the 
WOCL period. This is because part 117 explicitly states when local time 
is to be used instead of last-acclimated time,\35\ and Sec.  117.21(d) 
does not instruct the certificate holder to use local time. Finally, 
the 12-hour notice requirement does not apply to short-call reserve 
because the requirements of Sec.  117.21(d) apply only to long-call 
reserve.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \35\ See, e.g., Sec.  117.15(a).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 L. Cumulative Limitations

    A4A and ALPA asked whether the flight time and FDP cumulative 
limits were hard limits or whether they could be extended under certain 
circumstances. ALPA provided the following example. The return segment 
of a trans-oceanic flight is scheduled within all FDP and flight-time 
limits. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the flight holds for an 
extended period and then diverts to an alternate airport. In order to 
begin a new flight segment from the alternate airport and complete the 
original schedule, one of the flightcrew members would have to exceed 
one of the cumulative flight time or FDP limits. ALPA asked whether the 
flightcrew member would be allowed to exceed the cumulative FDP 
limitations in this case.
    The cumulative FDP and flight time limits of part 117 are set out 
in Sec.  117.23. While these are generally hard limits, they can be 
extended in certain circumstances. For example, a post-takeoff FDP 
extension taken under Sec.  117.19(b)(3) would be permitted to exceed 
the cumulative limits of Sec.  117.23 and the flight-time limits of 
Sec.  117.11 while a pre-takeoff FDP extension would not be permitted 
to exceed those limits.\36\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \36\ See Sec.  117.19(a)(3).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In ALPA's example a flightcrew member who is at an alternate 
airport seeks to begin a new flight segment that would exceed the 
cumulative FDP limits. Because that flightcrew member knows before 
takeoff that he will exceed the pertinent limits, he cannot utilize the 
post-takeoff FDP extension. Since the pre-takeoff FDP extension does 
not allow a flightcrew member to exceed the cumulative FDP limits, the 
flightcrew member in ALPA's example would not be allowed to begin a new 
flight segment from the alternate airport.

 M. Rest Period

i. Sleep Opportunity
1. Definition of Sleep Opportunity
    APA asked the FAA to define ``uninterrupted sleep opportunity.'' 
APA also asked whether the sleep opportunity has to take place at a 
specific location, such as the flightcrew member's home.
    Subsection 117.25(e) requires a certificate holder to provide a 
flightcrew member with 10 hours of rest that includes an 8-hour 
uninterrupted sleep opportunity immediately before the flightcrew 
member begins a reserve or FDP. Subsection 117.25(f) requires the 
flightcrew member to notify the certificate holder if he or she 
determines that his/her rest period will not provide an 8-hour 
uninterrupted sleep opportunity.
    A sleep opportunity generally commences once a flightcrew member is 
at a location where the flightcrew member can reasonably be expected to 
go to sleep and not have that sleep interrupted. The sleep opportunity 
does not need to take place at the flightcrew member's home, but it 
must take place at a location where the flightcrew member can 
reasonably expect to obtain 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. In 
addition, as the FAA pointed out in the preamble to final rule, 
specific sleep situations ``are difficult to capture in a regulatory 
standard.''\37\ That is why Sec.  117.25(f) requires the flightcrew 
member to notify the certificate holder if the flightcrew member 
determines that he or she cannot get the requisite amount of 
uninterrupted sleep.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \37\ 77 FR at 383.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Interruptions to the Sleep Opportunity That Are Not Caused by 
Carrier
    A4A, APA, and AE asked whether an interruption not from the air 
carrier, such as a hotel fire alarm, would interrupt the 8-hour sleep 
opportunity. A4A and AE asked whether the flightcrew member is required 
to inform the carrier if a sleep opportunity has been interrupted.
    Subsection 117.25(f) requires a flightcrew member to notify the air 
carrier if the flightcrew member determines that his/her rest period 
will not provide 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This section provides 
the flightcrew member with discretion to determine whether his or her 
sleep has been interrupted. However, if the flightcrew member 
determines that his/her sleep has been interrupted, then the flightcrew 
member must notify the air carrier of the interruption. For this 
determination, it is irrelevant whether the interruption to the 
flightcrew member's sleep was caused by the air carrier.
    Taking the fire alarm example, if the fire alarm sounds for only a 
few seconds, some flightcrew members may have no problem getting back 
to sleep, and they may determine that their sleep was not interrupted. 
Conversely, other flightcrew members may find it difficult to get back 
to sleep even if their sleep was interrupted for only a short period of 
time. These flightcrew members may determine that their sleep 
opportunity was interrupted, at which point they would have to notify 
the carrier of the interruption.
ii. Requirement To Perform a Task During a Rest Period
    A4A and ALPA asked whether carriers could require a pilot to check 
a calendar, text, or email during a rest period. AE asked whether a 
pilot could check the schedule/calendar voluntarily during a rest 
period.
    During a rest period, a crewmember must be free from all restraint 
by the certificate holder.\38\ If a crewmember is required to do 
something by the certificate holder, then that crewmember is not free 
from all restraint, and that crewmember is not on a valid rest period. 
Accordingly, a certificate holder cannot require a flightcrew member to 
perform any tasks during a rest period, including tasks such as 
checking the schedule/calendar, checking a text message, or checking an 
email message.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \38\ Letter to Glenn Jimenez from Rebecca MacPherson (June 9, 
2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    However, if a flightcrew member performs a task of his/her own 
volition without being required to perform the task by the certificate 
holder, then that task is not a restraint imposed by the certificate 
holder. Thus, it is permissible for a flightcrew member to voluntarily 
decide to check the schedule/calendar during his or her rest period. We 
emphasize, however, that a flightcrew member's decision to perform a 
task during a rest period must be entirely voluntary.
iii. One-Phone Call Rule
    A number of commenters asked whether the required 8-hour sleep 
opportunity eliminates the one-phone-call rule or places additional 
restrictions on when the phone call can be made. ALPA asked whether a 
flightcrew member is required to notify the

[[Page 14177]]

certificate holder if the certificate holder's phone call prevents the 
flightcrew member from receiving an 8-hour sleep opportunity.
    The FAA has a ``one phone call'' policy that ``generally allows a 
certificate holder to initiate one phone call during [a] crewmember's 
rest period.''\39\ If the crewmember voluntarily chooses to answer this 
phone call, then the FAA does not view the call as disruptive and 
breaking the rest period.\40\ The sleep-opportunity requirements of 
Sec.  117.25 do not eliminate this policy. However, the FAA cautions 
that a flightcrew member may have difficulty getting back to sleep 
after being woken up by a certificate holder's phone call. In that 
situation, a flightcrew member may notify the certificate holder, 
pursuant to Sec.  117.25(f), that his or her sleep opportunity has been 
interrupted. Thus, a certificate holder runs the risk of interrupting a 
flightcrew member's sleep opportunity if the certificate holder calls a 
flightcrew member during the flightcrew member's rest period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ Id.
    \40\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

iv. Point of Reference for the 30-Hour Rest Period
    An individual commenter asked whether the point of reference for 
the 168-hour period specified in Sec.  117.25(b) was the beginning of 
an FDP or the end of an FDP.
    Subsection 117.25(b) originally stated that ``[b]efore beginning 
any reserve or flight duty period a flightcrew member must be given at 
least 30 consecutive hours free from all duty in any 168 consecutive 
hour period.'' In May 2012, the FAA issued a correction, changing the 
regulatory text of this subsection to require 30 hours free from all 
duty ``within the past 168 consecutive hour period.''\41\ The FAA's 
correction explained that this change was made ``to clarify that the 
`168 consecutive hour period' is the period that precedes the beginning 
of the flight duty period.''\42\ Thus, the point of reference for the 
168-hour period specified in Sec.  117.25(b) is the beginning of an 
FDP.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \41\ 77 FR 28763, 28764 (May 16, 2012).
    \42\ Id. at 28763.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

v. Prospective Identification of a Rest Period
    APA asked whether the 30-hour rest period in Sec.  117.25(b) has to 
be prospectively identified. More specifically, APA asked whether a 
rest period that is scheduled for less than 30 hours can be extended to 
30 hours to satisfy the requirements of Sec.  117.25(b).
    A rest period must be prospective in nature, which means that a 
flightcrew member must be told in advance that he or she will be on a 
rest period for a specified duration. This is so that a flightcrew 
member has an opportunity to plan out his or her rest period in order 
to maximize the sleep opportunities available during that rest period.
    In this case Sec.  117.25(b) requires that a flightcrew member be 
provided with a 30-consecutive-hour rest period in the 168-hour period 
immediately preceding an FDP. Because a flightcrew member would need to 
plan ahead in order to maximize the multiple sleep opportunities 
available during this 30-hour rest period, the flightcrew member must 
be told before the rest period begins that he/she will be receiving 30 
hours of rest in order for that rest to satisfy Sec.  117.25(b). The 
FAA notes that this approach is consistent with a 1991 interpretation 
in which the FAA stated that a pertinent rest period had to be 
identified in advance as a 24-hour rest period in order for that rest 
period to satisfy a regulation requiring 24 hours of rest.\43\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ Letter to B. Stephen Fortenberry from Donald P. Byrne (June 
24, 1991).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

vi. Assigning an FDP
    A4A and Alaska Air asked whether a rest period that is longer than 
the regulatory minimum could be terminated early if the resulting rest 
satisfied the minimum regulatory requirements. ALPA asked whether an 
air carrier could contact a flightcrew member when the flightcrew 
member is off duty but not on a rest period to give a flight 
assignment. If so, ALPA questioned whether the carrier must provide at 
least 10 hours of rest prior to the flight assignment. ALPA also asked 
whether a flightcrew member could voluntarily elect to ``pick up a 
trip'' from open time if he or she will have the requisite rest prior 
to the report time for that trip.
    As discussed above, the start of a previously-scheduled FDP can 
only be changed by utilizing the reserve provisions of Sec.  117.21. As 
such, a certificate holder that wishes to bump up the time of a 
previously-scheduled FDP would have to provide the flightcrew member 
with the pertinent long-call-reserve notice of the FDP change. 
Alternatively, if a certificate holder anticipates that it may need to 
call in a flightcrew member for an FDP, then that certificate holder 
should provide the flightcrew member with the required 10-hour rest 
period and then place the flightcrew member on short-call reserve.
    These circumstances change if a flightcrew member decides, on his/
her own initiative, to pick up a trip from open time, as the 
regulations do not prohibit this practice as long as the flightcrew 
member has received the required rest. However, the FAA cautions 
flightcrew members that Sec.  117.5(a) requires a flightcrew member to 
``report for any flight duty period rested and prepared to perform his 
or her assigned duties.'' The preamble to the final rule explains that 
this provision was added to the regulations to, among other things, 
``discourage flightcrew-member practices such as picking up extra 
hours.'' \44\ Thus, while a flightcrew member is free to voluntarily 
pick up extra flight hours from open time, the flightcrew member may be 
in violation of Sec.  117.5(a) if this activity results in the 
flightcrew member becoming unduly fatigued.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \44\ 77 FR at 348.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Turning to ALPA's other question, if a flightcrew member is not on 
a rest period, the certificate holder may contact the flightcrew member 
to schedule a flight assignment.\45\ However, pursuant to Sec.  
117.25(b) and (e), the certificate holder would then need to provide 
that flightcrew member with the requisite rest period prior to 
beginning the FDP. The certificate holder would also have to follow the 
FDP notification requirements of long-call reserve, as this type of 
contact and FDP assignment would qualify as long-call reserve pursuant 
to the definition of that term in Sec.  117.3.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \45\ This answer assumes that the flightcrew member is not on 
short-call or airport/standby reserve at the time of the contact.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

vii. Requirements of Sec.  117.25(d)
    A4A and AE asked whether Sec.  117.25(d) requires 60 degrees of 
travel in one direction and 168 consecutive hours away from the 
flightcrew member's home base together to trigger the 56 consecutive 
hours of rest requirement. ALPA asked whether the rest requirement of 
Sec.  117.25(d) would trigger if a flightcrew member never enters a new 
theater. ALPA also provided an example in which a flightcrew member 
flies a series of two 144-hour time-away-from-base trips which are 
separated by a 10-hour rest period at home base. ALPA asked whether 
this situation would trigger the 56-hour rest requirement of Sec.  
117.25(d).
    Subsection 117.25(d) requires that a flightcrew member be given a 
minimum of 56 consecutive hours of rest upon return to home base if 
that flightcrew

[[Page 14178]]

member has been away from home base for more than 168 consecutive hours 
as part of an FDP or series of FDPs that required that flightcrew 
member to travel more than 60 degrees longitude.\46\ Thus, in order to 
trigger the 56-hour rest requirement of Sec.  117.25(d), a flightcrew 
member must satisfy both of the following requirements: (1) The 
flightcrew member has to be away from home base for over 168 
consecutive hours; and (2) the time away from home base must take place 
during FDP(s) that require the flightcrew member to travel over 60 
degrees longitude.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \46\ See 77 FR at 383 (explaining Sec.  117.25(d)). The FAA 
intends to issue a correction clarifying the regulatory language in 
Sec.  117.25(d).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The requirement to travel over 60 degrees longitude refers to 
travel in a single direction, as a flightcrew member who travels 30 
degrees in one direction and then 30 degrees back would wind up in the 
same place where he started. Because this requirement does not refer to 
theaters, it is irrelevant whether a flightcrew member changes theaters 
during his/her FDP(s)--all that matters is whether the flightcrew 
member has traveled more than 60 degrees longitude in one direction 
away from home base.
    Turning to ALPA's example, in that example, a flightcrew member 
goes on two trips each of which requires him to spend 144 hours away 
from home base and has a rest period at home base between the trips. 
Because each trip does not exceed 168 hours away from home base, each 
of these trips is insufficient to trigger the rest requirement of Sec.  
117.25(d). In addition, it is important to note that a flightcrew 
member must be away from home base for more than 168 ``consecutive'' 
hours in order to trigger the rest requirement in Sec.  117.25(d). 
Because the two trips in ALPA's example were separated by a rest period 
at home base, the time away from home for these two trips cannot be 
combined for Sec.  117.25(d) purposes, as that time away from home was 
not consecutive. Thus, ALPA's example would not trigger the rest 
requirements of Sec.  117.25(d), as the flightcrew member in that 
example would not spend over 168 consecutive hours away from home base. 
It would, however trigger the 30-hour consecutive-rest requirement of 
Sec.  117.25(b) once the flightcrew member reached 168 hours.
viii. Deadheading
    The National Air Carrier Association (NACA) asked how the 
compensatory rest for deadheading is calculated if the deadhead has 
multiple legs with a sleep/rest opportunity between deadhead segments. 
RAA and AE provided the following scenario. A flightcrew member reports 
for duty at 0430 and operates a single flight that blocks in at 0800. 
At 1100 he starts to deadhead to another city to fly the next day and 
the series of deadhead flights arrives at 1530. RAA and AE asked how 
much rest this flightcrew member would need. RAA also asked how much 
rest this flightcrew member would need if this entire assignment had 
consisted solely of deadhead transportation.
    Subsection 117.25(g) states that ``[i]f a flightcrew member engaged 
in deadhead transportation exceeds the applicable flight duty period in 
Table B of this part, the flightcrew member must be given a rest period 
equal to the length of the deadhead transportation'' but not less than 
the 10-hour rest period required by Sec.  117.25(e). Because Table B is 
used to calculate FDPs, the total length of the deadhead is determined 
in a similar manner as the total length of an FDP. More specifically, 
flight segments that are not separated by a ``required intervening rest 
period'' \47\ would be considered part of the same deadhead. As 
discussed above, a ``required intervening rest period'' refers to a 
rest period specified by Sec.  117.25. Thus, two deadhead segments that 
are separated by a five-hour rest period would be considered a single 
deadhead period because five hours is not a required intervening rest 
period. Conversely, two deadhead segments separated by 10 hours of rest 
with an 8-hour sleep opportunity would constitute two separate deadhead 
periods, as they would be separated by a required intervening rest 
period.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ See Sec.  117.3 (FDP definition).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Turning to RAA and AE's scenario, a flightcrew member reports for a 
one-segment FDP at 0430 and flies a single flight segment that 
concludes at 0800. The FAA will assume that this flightcrew member is 
acclimated. Because the flightcrew member concludes his one flight 
segment at 0800, his FDP terminates at that time. Then, at 1100, the 
flightcrew member begins a series of deadhead flights that terminate at 
1530. This deadhead assignment consists of 4.5 hours (the time from 
1100 to 1530). While RAA and AE have not specified how many flight 
segments make up this deadhead assignment, the 4.5 hours of this 
assignment would be well within the bounds of any of the FDP limits in 
Table B. Because this deadhead assignment has not exceeded the 
pertinent FDP limits of Table B, Sec.  117.25(g) would not require a 
compensatory rest period in this case.
    If the entire assignment in RAA and AE's scenario consisted of 
deadhead transportation, then the total amount of deadhead 
transportation, which would take place from 0430 to 1530, would be 11 
hours. This would exceed the pertinent limits of Table B, as the 
highest FDP limit for an FDP that begins at 0430 is 10 hours. 
Accordingly, Sec.  117.25(g) would require a compensatory rest period 
equal to the length of the deadhead transportation before the 
flightcrew member begins a new FDP. In this case, the length of the 
compensatory rest period would be 11 hours.

N. Consecutive Nighttime Operations

i. Applicability to Augmented Operations
    A4A asked whether the consecutive-night-provisions of Sec.  117.27 
apply to augmented operations.
    Section 117.27 requires that a flightcrew member be provided with a 
two-hour mid-duty rest break during each consecutive FDP that infringes 
on the WOCL in order for that flightcrew member to be scheduled for 
more than three consecutive nighttime FDPs. The preamble to the final 
rule rejected a commenter's suggestion to exempt augmented operations 
from this provision. \48\ The preamble explained this decision by 
pointing out that augmented operations need the mitigation provided by 
nighttime mid-duty breaks to the same extent as unaugmented 
operations.\49\ Accordingly, the consecutive-night provisions of Sec.  
117.27 apply to augmented operations that infringe on the WOCL.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ 77 FR at 376.
    \49\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ii. Applicability to FDPs That Begin During the WOCL
    A4A, Jeppesen, and Alaska Air asked whether an FDP that begins 
during the WOCL infringes on the WOCL for purposes of Sec.  117.27.
    As discussed above, Sec.  117.27 prohibits a flightcrew member from 
accepting and a certificate holder from scheduling five consecutive 
FDPs ``that infringe on the window of circadian low'' if the flightcrew 
member assigned to these FDPs does not receive mid-duty rest periods 
that are specified in Sec.  117.27. In the preamble to the final rule, 
the FAA explained that ``[t]he consecutive-night limit is intended to 
apply to FDPs that infringe on the WOCL because operations conducted 
during the WOCL significantly increase cumulative fatigue.'' \50\ 
Accordingly, an

[[Page 14179]]

FDP ``infringe[s] on the window of circadian low'' for the purposes of 
Sec.  117.27 if any portion of that FDP takes place during the WOCL.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ Id. at 376.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thus, an operation that begins during the WOCL would ``infringe on 
the window of circadian low'' and be subject to Sec.  117.27 because a 
portion of that operation would be conducted during the WOCL. An 
operation that remains entirely free of the WOCL would not ``infringe 
on the window of circadian low'' for the purposes of Sec.  117.27 
because no portion of that operation would be conducted during the 
WOCL.
iii. How Often the Mid-Duty Break Must Be Provided
    ALPA asked whether the two-hour mid duty rest break must be given 
on the day a pilot first reports for duty if he or she is scheduled for 
five days of flight that infringe on the WOCL.
    Section 117.27 requires that, in order to exceed three consecutive 
nighttime FDPs, the two-hour mid-duty rest break be given ``during each 
of the consecutive nighttime duty periods'' that infringe on the WOCL. 
Accordingly, if a pilot is scheduled for five consecutive FDPs that 
infringe on the WOCL, that pilot must be provided with a two-hour mid-
duty break during each of those FDPs. This would include the first FDP 
in the series that infringes on the WOCL.
iv. Whether Reserve Triggers Sec.  117.27
    SWAPA asked whether a RAP that infringes on the WOCL would trigger 
the requirements of Sec.  117.27. Horizon and RAA asked whether a pilot 
can be scheduled for more than 3 consecutive airport reserve periods 
that infringe on the WOCL.
    Section 117.27 only applies to ``flight duty periods that infringe 
on the window of circadian low.'' Because a reserve availability period 
is not a flight duty period, a RAP does not trigger the requirements of 
Sec.  117.27. However, if a flightcrew member on short-call reserve is 
assigned an FDP at least a portion of which takes place during the 
WOCL, that FDP would infringe on the WOCL for purposes of Sec.  117.27.
    Turning to airport/standby reserve, Sec.  117.21(a) states that 
``[f]or airport/standby reserve, all time spent in a reserve status is 
part of the flightcrew member's flight duty period.'' Because time 
spent in airport/standby reserve is considered to be part of an FDP, 
consecutive airport reserve periods that infringe on the WOCL would 
trigger the requirements of Sec.  117.27.

O. Applicability to Flight Attendants

    Alaska Air asked whether flight attendants operating under part 117 
must comply with the fatigue education and awareness training program 
provisions of Sec.  117.9. Alaska Air also asked whether these flight 
attendants must declare their fitness for duty pursuant to the 
provisions of Sec.  117.5.
    If a flight attendant operates under part 117, that flight 
attendant must comply with the provisions of part 117 that apply to 
flightcrew members. Flightcrew members are required to declare their 
fitness for duty pursuant to Sec.  117.5(d) and go through fatigue 
education and awareness training pursuant to Sec.  117.9. Accordingly, 
these requirements would also extend to flight attendants operating 
under part 117.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 28, 2013.
Mark Bury,
Acting Assistant Chief Counsel for International Law, Legislation, and 
Regulations Division, AGC-200.
[FR Doc. 2013-05083 Filed 3-4-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P