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JetBlue Flight Canceled After Pilots Admit They're 'Tapped Out'—Passenger

AJetBlue flight to New York City was canceled because the pilots were "tapped out," according to a passenger. Emily Galvin-Almanza told Newsweek that the flight she was supposed to be on was initially delayed for several hours for mechanical reasons. ( More...

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I applaud the pilots for standing up and doing the right thing...hours of service rules are a good thing.
dodger4 5
I agree 100%. I used to be a CP of a commuter company and I will readily attest that there are many parts of these operations that bag you out long before the CARs time limits are reached - pax delays, the stress of OTP, weather, limits approaches, ATC and ground handling delays, passenger the 704 it goes on forever. "That's why you're paid the big bucks..." It's got nothing to do with it. Besides the big bucks are certainly not in the 704 or 135.

I certainly hand it to the crew to resist the company pressure to go n when they are "tapped out", tho perhaps they could have foreseen it a bit earlier.
victorbravo77 1
Me too. I've been on a few flights as a passenger that were delayed while a fresh crew is assigned. Of course there are the inconvenience (self-righteously IMHO). I was happy.

Reminded me of almost any flight home from combat.
Absolutely rather be alive than dead
bentwing60 11
Back in the day, (mid to late 80's), Part 135 operators had a 14/8 reg. that said you could extend the duty time to 16 for exigent circumstances. But if you did, the crew was now required a 24 hr. rest period instead of the standard 8. Oh, and some FSDO's let freight operators log the 'last leg home' part 91, no duty/flight time restriction now applied.

I am still astonished at the relative safety rates for 135 supplemental freight (Lears, DA20's hell even a Hansa or two) given the state of some of the Zombies, me included, that got out of the jet at home after another looong day, mostly at night. All for $250 bucks, PIC, $150, FO!
Mike Mohle 9
I hear ya brotha! Those 3am 91 repos after a max day to ORD/JFK/PHL/ATL - or Maint were always on the fringe of being "safe", then throw in some weather and exhausted pilots and hope everything works out.
bbabis 5
Loved it and couldn't believe I was getting paid for it at the time but would never do it again.
Jasper Buck 3
"Hansa" Oh Lord, remember that thing? None registered in the U.S. anymore and the manufacture (Hamburger Flugzeugbau) surrendered the FAA Type Certificate about 15 years ago. I remember one was based in St. Petersburg (KPIE)as a corporate airplane.

Ken Riehl 1
I recall one being based out of Farmingdale New York (FRG). It was kept over at the Beech facility
bentwing60 0
The standard 'joke' for the new FO's at our local waterin' hole near ADS went somethin' like, You can top the tanks on a Lr. 23 or 24, put a captain and picture of a copilot up front and carry a 'verbal message anywhere in the country'! All the qb's had either heard it or used it. No good at a meetin'.

The XR mod actually made a useful airplane out of either since it upped the MTOW from 13,300 to 15,300 with the addition of only some 700 or so lbs. of fuel.

JB, a corporate "Hansa" showed up at DAL sometime in mid winter. By august they had sold or traded it, for an 1123 Jet Commode. Doooh!

Memories of Colgen flight 3407 that crashed in New York. Both pilots tired, both making mistakes. There were some other issues related, but fatigue was an definite issue. Such a sad loss.
Highflyer1950 2
Possibly, but no getting around that turning base to final and the stick shaker fires is definitely not the time to pull back on the yoke or reconfigure the aircraft……they did both, “if I remember correctly”
bentwing60 4
HF, hate to call down a brother, but they had been established on the final approach course for several miles and stalled the airplane at the outer marker with both in a total daze. That either would have passed a part 135 freight check ride 'back in the day' is questionable because most were done in a real airplane. I'm not convinced that either could even close the door on a Lear. The captain had busted multiple check rides before Colgan employment, as well as after. The FO was a tired seat cover.

"This article is based on the NTSB's report of the accident and is intended to bring the issues raised to our readers' attention."

When the "lights are on and nobody is home", the conclusion was inescapable.

Highflyer1950 5
Yes, you’re correct…..I’m wrong. They had already established themselves on final and then configured the aircraft. Interesting back in the ‘80’s , airlines liked their pilots to have gained experience with all four weather seasons before cutting them loose. In a Lear, you got that on each trip…lol! cheers
Susan Wong 7
Not ideal news for those wanting to travel, I'm sure, but kudos for the pilots for being honest. As one pilot once told me, "Better to be on the ground wishing you were up, than up in the air wishing you were on the ground."
Another 'gotta get there-itis' accident avoided. Factor #1, fatigue; factors #2 & #3... fill in the blanks.
Many years ago I was on a BOAC DC7C ("Seven seas") on a flight from Heathrow to Idlewild. I was asleep when the plane landed in Manchester (I was told) on three engines.

A few hours later we proceeded to Prestwick. The crew had timed out. We deplaned into a large room with many wicker chairs. It was August Bank Holiday and there were no crew who had not had alcohol long enough ago to qualify.

As we waited several aircraft from other airlines landed. Passengers on our flight latched onto passengers from those flights offering money to exchange seats and carriers. That went on all night and into the next day. There were many flights because Prestwick was a jumping off place for flights across the Atlantic. Most aimed for at Gander, Newfoundland.

Eventually a new crew flew in and we were on the way. We did not stop at Gander because had enough fuel to make it to Montreal where we did not stop because New York was possible.

The jet age has made a lot possible, but I miss being able to see the earth below. We went from icebergs to the ice aged scars of Labrador and to the many houses with swimming pools of Long Island.
robert caruso 3
Yes I was on a flight from ABQ to NYC and we sat on Jet Blue flight for 2 hrs before we were told they were out of flight hrs.
Rick Stone 4
So I read the article headline. In my (rather limited) knowledge base, "tapped out" means out of money. Do they mean timed out?
David Bristol 7
Could be either. A pilot can be exhausted for whatever reason (tapped out) without being timed out.
George Pepe 2
I think so.
chiefaviator 1
Reading the article the gate agent used that term.

But by the description it sounded like it was a crew calling fatigue.
Fran Turner 1
“Tapped out” may be a regional colloquialism; here in the mid-South it means (or used to mean, back in the day) passed out from drinking.
Anyone who flys the friendly sky’’s often can share SHappens stories.
I have a couple tips when those situations arise. If trapped at Midway and the “sleep lounge” isn’t ole go to the end of either terminals, grab a wheel chair and make a nice semi- recline bunk. Go to the end of gates because that’s where the cleaning crews start, sound will fade.
At ATL I suggest the lobby at the click tower, it allows you to time it takes the floor polishers to make their runs. No wheel chairs but the end tables make reasonable ottoman.
John Manley 2
As a crew scheduler for a 121 air carrier, let me tell you right now, this is the FURTHEST thing from "news"..... crews time out (whether due to Flight Duty Period - FDP exceedence or Block time exceedence)and even call out fatigued even before they time out all the time. This is a normal process that we deal with on a daily basis.

The media should stay out of aviation because they look like complete imbeciles when they stick their hand into the "cookie jar"...
I reckon Luftwaffe pilots during WWII wish they could have tapped out after flying combat missions for four or five years.
msongy 2
Really Newsweek? They actually reported a story with people using slang terminology (tapped out), when it's obvious that the crew "timed out". They even mention it in (of course) the last sentence in the story after causing concerns among people who might travel on JetBLue. "Current FAA regulations for domestic flights generally limit pilots to eight hours of flight time during a 24-hour period." Newsweek, stop, just stop.
David Bristol 7
Timed out would not have been scheduled to begin with. Tapped out is just that the pilots were very tired. One is a legal definition and the other is not. Tapped out is probably correct because the gate agents wouldn't be arguing with the pilots in a timed out situation.
chiefaviator 1
They were quoting the term used by the gate agent telling the passengers of the cancelation.

From the description, it sounds like the crew was calling fatigue instead of being timed out.
George Pepe 0
I thought it was 10 hours
chiefaviator 3
A 2 man crew is no more than 8 hours of flight time.

But under FAR117, depending when they start duty and the number of legs it could be as few as 5 or 6 hours.

Same with duty times. It could vary from 9 to 15 hours under FAR117.

But a pilot can call fatigue at anytime they feel tired and safety would be effected.
George Cottay 2
As already mentioned this is just irresponsible click bait. Though the name persists the media organization once known as Newsweek is long dead.
Totally agree; the magazine should be renamed "Newsweak"....
well said mr bradley
James Simms 1
Avoided another potential American Flight 1420 type issue
Oh please. Give me a break. The pilots had reached their duty limits for the day and that meant they couldn't take the trip.It is an FAA mandated LAW. Sometimes i've been on a flight where after a hold of an hour or so on the tarmac for weather, we had to go back to the gate and get a new crew. I understand it completely. But the media picked up on the unfortunate term "tapped out" which some people heard and then went hysterical because i'm sure they thought it meant they had been drinking.
Bravo Zulu to the pilots.
Gela DePutter 1
Several years ago I was on a flight from Houston to SFO. The flight was delayed due to weather that came through a few hours earlier. We boarded, then disembarked and got back on. The pilot then said we were waiting for fuel. Then he said he had about 20 minutes before he timed out. Yep, he timed out and we left the plane again and had to rebook ourselves or wait in line to get help. It was a hellish night. I got a 2pm flight the next day. No help with hotel - the airline had given out all rooms for those delayed prior to us due to weather. I wonder if the stretch of time was deliberate.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Craig Good 5
According to the story it was the gate agent who picked the fight with the crew. And that is indeed unprofessional.


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