Longer pilot hours could lead to crashes, warns new film

Fact Not Fiction Films, based in Horsham, released Pilot Fatigue this month.
Fact Not Fiction Films, based in Horsham, released Pilot Fatigue this month.

AIRPLANE crashes could become far more likely if EU legislation on pilot working hours passes - according to a Horsham film company.

Fact Not Fiction Films teamed up with the Independent Pilots Association to produce Pilot Fatigue, which shows that pilot’s judgement can be severely impaired through a lack of sleep.

The new rules, drawn up by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), would replace existing national regulation and could force pilots to land aircrafts after 22 hours without sleep.

Tristan Loraine, director and producer of Pilot Fatigue and a former pilot himself, said: “It’s negligent not to listen to pilots telling you that you have a problem.”

He said he made the film to get across to audiences how it could impact them when travelling by air.

“The real goal was to point out how out of control we are as passengers, and we are often left in this hands of a guy who should not be there in the first place,” he added.

“How can a passenger board an airplane when the economic impact is put before safety?”

He said that all pilots he spoke to were in total agreement on the issue, where pilot fatigue is cited as a cause in 20 per cent of accidents where human error is involved.

He thanked Virtual Flight Centre in Coolham, who allowed them to use their simulator for scenes in the film.

Susan Michaelis, from Fact Not Fiction Films, added: “Research shows that a third of pilots have fallen asleep to wake up and find the other pilot asleep. Things can go wrong and they do go wrong.”

The company won Best New Business in Sussex in 2008 and Best Small Business for Sussex in 2009 and 2011, producing a number of films and documentaries including Spitfire Sisters. Their latest film, Shady Lady, is in post production.

Readers can receive a 20 per cent discount on a DVD of Pilot Fatigue and all other documentaries by visiting www.factnotfictionfilms.com and using the code ‘14oct1947’.