The screenshot beneath hails from YouTube. The flight obviously commenced less than an hour ago, as the A380 just attained FL250. Then at 14:28 the relief captain (Robert Juelicher) leaves the cockpit. At 14:37, ATC clears the flight to climb to FL320.

I'm assuming that relief pilots too are required to have rested and slept well before flying.

  1. So how can Juelicher be expected to sleep or rest 1 hour into the flight? If I slept well (9 hours), it's impossible for me to fall asleep for another 12 hours.

  2. Or did the Pilot-in-Command (Juergens Raps shown in the screenshot) misspeak? Is Juelicher expected to merely fritter away time (e.g. read a book) until his shift, not necessarily to sleep?

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The military has been teaching people how to fall asleep fast for a long time and its quite doable. Keep in mind this pilot did not start working one hour ago, if he is relived after 1 hour he is likely at the end of his duty shift and may have been flying for the previous 7 hours and awake for some more time than that. Pilots hop time zones frequently so just because its daytime outside the aircraft does not mean that pilot started off his duty time in that time zone or even on that continent that day.

The relief pilots may have woken up just before the flight and had a nice hour to relax before "going to work".

The crew rest area is pretty nicely isolated and free of light and distractions making it an ideal place to sleep.


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