Safety in the Air for Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers

Safety for Pilots

For most pilots, a daily sleep routine is unrealistic. With alternating shifts and rapidly changing time zones, pilots face many obstacles when it comes to proper sleep and safety in the air. According to a recent poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, 20% of pilots associate a serious work error to sleepiness.  If you know you suffer from a sleep disorder or believe you may suffer from one, seek immediate medical treatment. Pilots who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, the most common sleep disorder, will not lose their airman medical certificate as long as their OSA is treatable.

While it may seem impossible to get all the sleep you need, you can employ some specific techniques to cope with issues of fatigue while in the air. Try these simply techniques for your next flight:

  • Adjust your bedtime so it mirrors the schedule you will keep at your next destination
  • Drink plenty of liquids to help with jet lag
  • Consume foods that sustain wakefulness like protein
  • Stay active on arrival to promote resetting your internal clock
  • During the flight, take regular breaks and stretch when possible

Safety for Air Traffic Controllers

The demands of being an air traffic controller are strenuous in and of themselves. When coupled with a lack of sleep and/or sleep disorders, this occupation can become extremely dangerous for the aviation industry and its clients.  Air traffic controllers should attempt to sleep as much as possible between shifts and take note of sleep deprivation warning signs. Working in a sleep deprived state can create instances of:

  • Attention-Intensive performance omissions and error commissions, which causes you to respond to the wrong stimuli or to no stimuli
  • Cognitive slowing and increased errors in task that are time sensitive
  • Short-term recall and working memory decline

Additionally, you should seek immediate treatment if you feel you may suffer from a sleep disorder.

Sleep4Safety® Evaluation and Re-Certification Programs

Powered by FusionHealth®, Sleep4Safety’s aviation program offers FAA sanctioned sleep testing. The sleep medicine experts diagnose sleep disorders, customize client treatment options, and provide re-certification documentation for both pilots and air traffic controllers.

If you are ready to get the restful sleep required for peak job performance, our fully licensed doctors and staff are ready to help. Call us today to book an appointment.