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Half of pilots fall asleep at controls

A new study carried out in Austria, Sweden, Germany and Denmark has found out one in three airline pilots has fallen asleep at the controls of jetliners carrying hundreds of passengers. The research found that four out of five pilots have to cope with fatigue while in the cockpit.
The European Cockpit Association, which represents pilots, published its chilling findings after surveys carried out by national unions found that large numbers of pilots are half-asleep — or not even awake — while at the controls of a plane.
Between 43 and 54 percent of pilots surveyed in the UK, Norway and Sweden said they had already fallen asleep ‘involuntarily’ — and a third of these pilots found their colleagues were also asleep when they woke up. More than three out of five pilots in Sweden, Norway and Denmark reported making mistakes due to fatigue, while in Germany, this figure was four out of five.
Between 70 and 80 percent of exhausted pilots would not declare themselves unfit to fly for fear of being stigmatized by their employers or left facing disciplinary action.
More than 6,000 European pilots were surveyed for the study, between 2010 and 2012. The ECA says the study shows that fatigue among pilots is a “common, dangerous and under-reported phenomenon in Europe.”