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Consider a Boeing 737 cruising over the Atlantic when an engine flames out. The procedure here is clear: the pilot flying should continue flying the plane, while the pilot not flying should pull out the QRH and follow the checklist for engine flameout. What happens, though, if the pilot not flying is engaging in Flight Crew In-Seat Rest? I assume they're woken up, and then I see a few options:

  • the pilot flying continues to fly while the pilot not flying wakes up and overcomes their sleep inertia. After 20 minutes, they go through the engine out checklist

  • the pilot flying continues to fly while the pilot not flying immediately goes through the engine out checklist, despite the risk of sleep inertia

  • the pilot not flying immediately starts flying despite the risk of sleep inertia, and the pilot flying goes through the engine out checklist

  • the pilot flying flies the plane while going through the checklist as the pilot not flying wakes up

These all sound like awful options. So what would actually happen in such a situation?

Related: Is a pilot allowed to sleep during a flight?

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    $\begingroup$ I imagine the Pilot Flying shakes the Pilot Monitoring by the shoulder and says "Sonny come to life - things are happening!" $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Feb 18 '15 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ I would think the pilot at the controls would undoubtedly continue flying. The guy asleep would have no SA. Even when I was learning how to fly, if I was at the controls during an emergency, it was my aircraft and I flew. $\endgroup$ – Rhino Driver Feb 18 '15 at 4:01
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    $\begingroup$ 20min to wake up? I think that if the flying pilot really says "Sonny come to life - things are happening!", the resting one will be awake in less that 2 seconds, noticing later that 20 seconds would have been fine, too. $\endgroup$ – sweber Feb 18 '15 at 8:44
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    $\begingroup$ From experience I can tell you that in case of emergency sleep inertia does not last 20 minutes. Nature has ironed that flaw out eras ago. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Feb 18 '15 at 11:05
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    $\begingroup$ @SHAF - SA? situational awareness? r u on a phn? $\endgroup$ – CGCampbell Feb 18 '15 at 14:01
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Option 2:

the pilot flying continues to fly while the pilot not flying immediately goes through the engine out checklist, despite the risk of sleep inertia.

When waking up to an emergency situation your body will start to produce adrenaline which gets you over the sleep inertia very quickly. If the situation is not clear to the PNF, he will be briefed by the PF.

Besides that, in a checklist flow, both pilots are involved and crosscheck each other's actions.

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  • $\begingroup$ Also... it's a checklist, how much thinking do you really have to do? Read it, confirm it with PF, put your hand on it, confirm it again, do it, check it off, next item. $\endgroup$ – Jon Story Feb 18 '15 at 13:03
  • $\begingroup$ This doesn't really seem sufficient. Consider this incident, in which sleep inertia was apparently enough to confuse the pilot monitoring over a minute after waking up. It still seems like engaging the pilot monitoring in checklist activities immediately after waking up carries a significant risk. $\endgroup$ – raptortech97 Feb 18 '15 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ The infamous Venus avoidance manoeuvre! That is actually the opposite of what you describe; the PNF awakes to a non-emergency situation, then perceives an emergency to which the PF does not respond and he acts accordingly, thereby creating an emergency. $\endgroup$ – DeltaLima Feb 18 '15 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ @DeltaLima right, and it seems like a pilot woken up in an emergency will be even more confused, and more likely to make an error. $\endgroup$ – raptortech97 Feb 18 '15 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ @raptortech97 indeed, but tiredness wasn't at fault there, and the pilot guessed which engine had failed, rather than following a checklist... I don't see any connection. The same goes for the other incident mentioned: caused by tiredness, but not due to an inability to follow a checklist when tired. That's the beauty of a checklist, it does a lot of the "reasoning" for you. $\endgroup$ – Jon Story Feb 18 '15 at 15:47

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