Monthly Archives: February 2017

Exhausting European Flight Rules Could Lead to a Pilot Burnout Crisis

figure in fatigue

Airlines are not doing enough to address fatiguing rosters and this will lead to many UK pilots suffering ‘burnout’ according to flight safety experts at the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA).

One year on from the introduction of EU-wide pilot duty hours regulations, Dr Rob Hunter, BALPA Head of Flight Safety and an aeromedical expert, has warned that fatigue remains a huge issue for the industry, and not enough is being done to tackle it, especially ‘burnout’.

Burnout can result from pilots having to fly fatiguing rosters and perform standby duties year in, year out, and can seriously impact mental and physical wellbeing in the long-term, says Dr Hunter.

Dr Hunter, said:

“Pilot fatigue is one of the biggest threats to flight safety; it acts powerfully to increase the risk of pilot error.

“BALPA’s expert analysis of roster patterns across the airlines shows that pilots are being asked to work rosters that will be fatiguing.

“We are getting feedback from our members that they’re frequently exhausted, we believe that over time this fatigue could lead to widespread burnout – where pilots’ long-term health and wellbeing is affected.

“Many pilots are choosing to go part-time as they simply cannot cope with the demands of full-time flying. Pilots with full-time rosters feel their time off is spent recovering from previous duties such that they can’t enjoy quality time for life outside work.”

The EU regulations imposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) came into force in February 2016, despite opposition from BALPA and other flight safety groups, and have resulted in more fatiguing duties.

As predicted by BALPA, pilots now work more consecutive early starts which is associated with sleep deprivation and high levels of fatigue; pilots are being assigned duties which simply do not afford them a realistic opportunity to get enough sleep between flights.

The pilots’ association says that rather than seeing the flight time rules as a maximum, some airlines have used them as a target, leading to increasingly exhausted pilots.

Dr Hunter, continued:

“Fatiguing rosters are not just a problem in budget airlines but rather across the industry and need to be addressed.

“The future health of UK pilots is at stake if changes are not made soon.

“BALPA is committed to tackling this problem and will continue to work with airlines to reduce rostering patterns and ensure pilots are given the support from their employer to operate safely.”


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Use Ambulance Transport When Really Needed

ambulance vehicle

Has anyone ever called an ambulance transport for you? Did you feel that you didn’t need the ambulance transport at that time? Did you feel that you could have been transported by private car or taxi? Did you feel you were not responsible for the bill? If you answered yes, then read on.

When an ambulance is called for you by a family member or by someone, you are the person that is responsible for the bill.

If you are suddenly taken ill or fallen down and can’t get up and someone calls an ambulance for you, you can refuse the transport. There will be a charge since the ambulance had been dispensed and the paramedics were already on the scene.

What people need to know is that an ambulance transport to the hospital isn’t free. As a matter of fact the transport cost varies during the 24 hour day period. The cost is higher at night since the insurance costs for the vehicle is higher.

The ambulance transport usually takes the patient to the closest hospital. If the ambulance arrives at the hospital and they are sent away for various reasons, then the ambulance transport will continue on to another hospital.

An ambulance transport is not cheap and medical insurance companies are resourceful in finding ways to avoid paying this bill or just making a partial payment.

If you don’t have any medical insurance, this bill will be overwhelming for you to handle. Your ambulance bill is completely separate from the hospital bill.

If you need an ambulance by all means call Heathrow Air Ambulance Service. 0800 707 6788 is an easier phone number to remember. Our private ambulance transport is there for you to save your life.

Natural Catastrophe Losses At Their Highest For 4 Years

disaster area

A number of devastating earthquakes and powerful storms made 2016 the costliest twelve months for natural catastrophe losses in the last four years. Losses totalled US$ 175bn, a good two-thirds more than in the previous year, and very nearly as high as the figure for 2012 (US$ 180bn). The share of uninsured losses – the so-called protection or insurance gap – remained substantial at around 70%. Almost 30% of the losses, some US$ 50bn, were insured.

“After three years of relatively low nat cat losses, the figures for 2016 are back in the mid-range, where they are expected to be. Losses in a single year are obviously random and cannot be seen as a trend”, said member of the Board of Management Torsten Jeworrek. “The high percentage of uninsured losses, especially in emerging markets and developing countries, remains a concern. Greater insurance density is important, as it helps to alleviate the financial consequences of a catastrophe for more people. With its risk knowledge, the insurance industry would in fact be able to bear a much greater portion of such unpredictable risks.”

Key nat cat figures of 2016:

  • Both overall losses and insured losses were above the inflation-adjusted average for the past ten years (US$ 154bn and 45.1bn respectively).
  • Taking very small events out of the equation, 750 relevant loss events such as earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves were recorded in the Munich Re NatCatSERVICE database. That is significantly above the ten-year average of 590.
  • Some 8,700 lives were sadly lost as a result of these natural catastrophes, far fewer at least than in 2015 (25,400), yet within the ten-year average (60,600). The past year was thus the year with the fewest fatalities (after 2014, with 8,050 fatalities) in 30 years (1986: 8,600).
  • The high number of flood events, including river flooding and flash floods, was exceptional and accounted for 34% of overall losses, compared with an average of 21% over the past ten years.

Earthquake in Japan most expensive natural catastrophe of 2016

The costliest natural catastrophes of the year occurred in Asia. There were two earthquakes on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu close to the city of Kumamoto in April (overall losses US$ 31bn; proportion of insured losses just under 20%), and devastating floods in China in June and July (overall losses US$ 20bn; only some 2% of which were insured).

North America was hit by more loss occurrences in 2016 than in any other year since 1980, with 160 events recorded. The year’s most serious event here was Hurricane Matthew. Its greatest impact was in the Caribbean island nation of Haiti, which was still struggling to recover from the 2010 earthquake. Matthew killed around 550 people in Haiti, and also caused serious damage on the east coast of the USA. Overall losses totalled US$ 10.2bn, with over a third of this figure insured.

Series of storms in Europe, wildfires in Canada
North America was also impacted by other extreme weather hazards, including wildfires in the Canadian town of Fort McMurray in May, and major floods in the southern US states in summer. In Canada, the mild winter with less snow than usual, and the spring heatwaves and droughts which followed, were the principal causes of the devastating wildfires that hit the oil-sand-producing region of Alberta, generating overall losses of US$ 4bn. More than two-thirds of this figure was insured. In August, floods in Louisiana and other US states following persistent rain triggered losses totalling US$ 10bn, around a quarter of which was insured.

There was a series of storms in Europe in late May and early June. Torrential rain triggered numerous flash floods, particularly in Germany, and there was major flooding on the River Seine in and around Paris. Overall losses totalled some US$ 6bn (approximately €5.4bn), around half of which was insured.

“A look at the weather-related catastrophes of 2016 shows the potential effects of unchecked climate change. Of course, individual events themselves can never be attributed directly to climate change. But there are now many indications that certain events – such as persistent weather systems or storms bringing torrential rain and hail – are more likely to occur in certain regions as a result of climate change”, explained Peter Höppe, Head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research Unit.