Pilot Duty Time Info

  • In the past 10 years, significant changes have been made in the allowance of flight hours for pilots
  • The FAA has laid out new rules and regulations


In 2011, the FAA passed renewed guidelines targeted at combating pilot fatigue. A 2 year grace period was implemented before these new rules were put in place. Two of the main changes eliminated distinctions between domestic & international flights and scheduled & unscheduled flights.

Flight time is when the plane is being powered can move at any point. Deicing, taxiing, and waiting time all fall under this as long as the engines are firing. If a pilot’s first flight begins between 5AM- 8PM, the maximum flight time is 9 hours (if only one pilot). Outside of these time, the maximum lessens to 8 hours. 3 pilots on the flight extends it to 13 hours, and 4 pilots extends to 17 hours.

Duty time begins once a pilot reports being on duty before going out on a flight and ends once the aircraft is parked. The only time once they have reported for duty that is not considered duty times is a break that coincides with the FAA regulations. Limitations arise when the first flight time of the day, the number of pilots, the number of legs on the flight and/or resting opportunities are taken into account. Single flight crews are allotted duty times from 9-14 hours while multiple pilots are allotted 13-19 hours.

Rest periods must go for 10 hours with no exceptions. Pilots are granted 8 hours of sleep during their rest break. It begins when they clock out of duty and ends once they clock back in.

The new duty time maximums per week are 60 hours (168 consecutive hours). Within 28 days, a pilot cannot go over 290 hours (no more than 100 of these hours can be flight time). In a year, no more than 1,000 hours can be exceeded.

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