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Crew Factors in Flight Operations XII: A Survey of Sleep Quantity and Quality in On-Board Crew Rest FacilitiesMany aircraft operated on long-haul commercial airline flights are equipped with on-board crew rest facilities, or bunks, to allow crewmembers to rest during the flight. The primary objectives of this study were to gather data on how the bunks were used, the quantity and quality of sleep obtained by flight crewmembers in the facilities, and the factors that affected their sleep. A retrospective survey comprising 54 questions of varied format addressed demographics, home sleep habits, and bunk sleep habits. Crewmembers from three airlines with long-haul fleets carrying augmented crews consisting of B747-100/200, B747-400, and MD-11 aircraft equipped with bunks returned a total of 1404 completed surveys (a 37% response rate). Crewmembers from the three carriers were comparable demographically, although one carrier had older, more experienced flight crewmembers. Each group, on average, rated themselves as "good" or "very good" sleepers at home, and all groups obtained about the same average amount of sleep each night. Most were able to sleep in the bunks, and about two thirds indicated that these rest opportunities benefited their subsequent flight deck alertness and performance. Comfort, environment, and physiology (e.g., being ready for sleep) were identified as factors that most promoted sleep. Factors cited as interfering with sleep included random noise, thoughts, heat, and the need to use the bathroom. These factors, in turn, suggest potential improvements to bunk facilities and their use. Ratings of the three aircraft types suggested differences among facilities. Bunks in the MD-11 were rated significantly better than either of the B747 types, and the B747-400 bunks received better ratings than did the older, B747-100/200 facilities.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Ames Research Center
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Rosekind, Mark R.
(Alertness Solutions, Inc. Cupertino, CA United States)
Gregory, Kevin B.
(Alertness Solutions, Inc. Cupertino, CA United States)
Co, Elizabeth L.
(Alertness Solutions, Inc. Cupertino, CA United States)
Miller, Donna L.
(Alertness Solutions, Inc. Cupertino, CA United States)
Dinges, David F.
(Alertness Solutions, Inc. Cupertino, CA United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 2000
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:209611
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 548-30-32
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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