Part 135 Pilots and Rolling Rest
If you’re a Part 135 pilot, chances are you’ve had long philosophical conversations about rest and duty at some point in your career. The industry has grappled with using a schedule to properly staff unscheduled Part 135 operations…and, many would argue, unsuccessfully. We have seen legal interpretations from the FAA and article after article that state the rest must be assigned and known in advance (keyword: prospective). Still, rumors abound that many carriers don’t follow the rules of 135.267.
I conducted my own anonymous survey of pilots to find out if the rumors are really true. Out of 130+ pilots currently flying for a Part 135 operation today, 43% reported that they do not receive prospective, assigned rest before a flight. A whopping 58% admitted that they have flown for a carrier that has knowingly operated an illegal rolling-rest policy in the past.
So, how does this happen? How do we have almost half the industry not resting crews properly? The reasons are many but the cost is at the heart of this issue. Crew planning for an on-demand, unscheduled air carrier is extremely difficult. Carriers never know when flights will come in and how many crew members they’ll really need. Doing it the right way is incredibly expensive. For a 24-hour schedule, most carriers need 5 or more crew members, for every plane in the fleet.
In today’s pilot market, settling for a rolling-rest schedule just won’t do. In your next interview, ask how rest is assigned, ask how duty is assigned, ask how the company handles pop up trips, ask how many pilots are on the team. Be polite and professional, but you have the right to ask specific questions and the right to walk away if the answer isn’t clear. Don’t continue the myth that rolling rest is “ok” because “everyone” does it.
Wishing you tailwinds,
Chief Operating Officer
Jessie is COO of GrandView Aviation, a Part 135 operator of Phenom 300 light jets in Maryland, Texas, and Illinois. She is a Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School MBA, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University who currently sits on the board of the National Air Transport Association’s Part 135 Committee and is a Part 135 industry representative on the FAA’s Rest & Duty Rulemaking Committee.