FAA Rules Evaluated by Navtech Consultant

FAA Rules Evaluated by Navtech Consultant

Dr. Bob GerbrachtIn September 2010, the FAA published an NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) flight, duty and rest rule.   During the following evaluation period the agency was flooded with differing claims on the financial impact of the proposed regulations.   The original financial impact estimates supplied in the NPRM document were quickly seen as much too simplistic and confidence in their accuracy was low.   Consequently, the FAA subcontracted Pairing Specialist and Navtech consultant, Dr. Robert Gerbracht (picture at left), to use the Navtech Pairing Optimizer to evaluate the impact of the proposed regulations on a spectrum of airline and fleet combinations in order to reliably validate or refute the statements made by the various interested parties.

With a commitment from the FAA, production-ready pairing and bidline solutions were built as company-produced solutions in accordance with the complete sets of flight schedule data and regulatory, contractual, and company discretionary scheduling rules.  This enabled Dr.  Gerbracht and Navtech to measure the financial differences due solely to the new regulations.   These analyses continued throughout the next 14 months, dealing with not only the original NPRM proposals, but several iterations and evolutions of the rules up to the ‘final’ regulations which were published in December 2011.

During this same period, and based directly on the trips and lines produced by the Navtech Pairing Optimizer, the FAA evaluated the fatigue mitigation effects of the new rules using the IBR SAFTE-FAST fatigue model.   This software model is widely recognized within the aviation community as a leading tool to analyze flight crew member fatigue.   Its results are recognized by the FAA as both reliable and accurate.   The combination of accurate cost impact results found from the Pairing Optimizer’s outputs and the corresponding fatigue mitigation effects found from the SAFTE-FAST model were the drivers for establishing the cost/benefit trade-offs used by the FAA.   Navtech and IBR’s data played a crucial part in the evolution of the proposed rules from the original version of 2010 to the final version.

The newest release of the Navtech Pairing Optimizer supports the full set of rules imposed by the new regulations which are validated by the studies made in support of their development.   It also provides a fully integrated implementation of the SAFTE-FAST model for immediately evaluating the fatigue aspects of the pairings and bidlines produced by the optimizer.

SAFTE-FAST is available under a separate, optional license from Navtech.   Please contact your Account Manager or navtechsales@navtech.aero for more information on Navtech’s Crew Planning products.

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