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Effect of pilots' pre-flight commutes eyed

WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- Commuting practices among airline pilots could potentially contribute to their fatigue and might reduce performance and safety, a U.S. report says.

The report from the National Research Council says pilots should manage their sleep and awake time to avoid fatigue levels that could affect performance and should plan their commutes and other pre-duty activities so they will have been awake no more than 16 hours when their flights are scheduled to be completed.

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The report urged airlines to collect more data on pilots' commuting practices and educate pilots about potentially fatiguing effects of commuting, a release from the National Academy of Sciences said Wednesday.

"Some commutes have the potential to contribute to fatigue in pilots, and fatigue can pose a safety risk, but at this point we simply don't know very much about actual pilots' commuting practices," said Clint Oster, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University.

Congress requested the report out of concerns about pilots commuting, since some pilots do not live near the airports where they are based and must travel long distances before beginning their flight duty.

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