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Asleep at the Controls: Two Pilots Doze Off Mid-Flight

Are fatigued pilots putting passengers lives in danger? A shocking report released by The Civil Aviation Authority disclosed two incidents in which pilots fell asleep mid-flight—while they were the only ones flying the plane.

The Telegraph reports that one first officer dozed off after the flight’s captain left to use the bathroom—when the captain returned, he could not reach the first officer through the radio, and after using a code to get back inside the cockpit, allegedly found the first officer passed out over the controls.

In a second, similar incident, a pilot returning from a break had to shake awake his co-pilot. The identity of the pilots were not revealed, due to data protection laws.

Distressingly, the Telegraph also cites a recent survey of British Airlines Pilots Association (BAPA), in which nearly 50 percent of pilots polled confessed to sleeping in the cockpit while on duty, and one third of those saying that the other pilot was also asleep when they woke up. Pilots in the United Kingdom can currently work up to 18 hours without sleep, but new rules have been proposed that would allow pilots to fly after being awake for 22 hours (this includes travel time to the airport, as well as time on the ground, not just flight time.

Will this make you think twice before booking a flight in the UK? Tell us in the comments!

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