What are the policies on long flights and taking shifts sleeping between 2 pilots? Could a pilot set the cruise control and alarm during any flight?

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    $\begingroup$ I heard a crazy story of a pilot flying freight in a piston twin who would set an alarm clark and nap on autopilot, no one else in the plane. Probably back in the 1980's. Once he scraped something on the ground but survived, according to his friend who told me the story. $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2019 at 5:05
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    $\begingroup$ I can tell you that on very long flights, three pilots may be booked. As far as I am aware, all are available during critical phases of flight (takeoff, landing) but otherwise they rotate and have off time for rest. $\endgroup$
    – Pheric
    Jul 13, 2019 at 5:34
  • $\begingroup$ @quiet_flyer I heard a similar story only one day he had an unexpectedly strong tailwind and hit a mountain. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Jul 13, 2019 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is called in-seat-rest.

This is the process whereby pilots may take short periods of sleep (naps), while temporarily relieved of operational duties in accordance with carefully prescribed ‘controlled rest’ procedures, when part of a two-man operating crew of an in-flight aeroplane.

Source: skybrary

  • $\begingroup$ The question was tagged "FAA". This answer applies to certain areas outside of FAA jurisdiction. The FAA is largely silent on this issue. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Jul 13, 2019 at 11:36
  • $\begingroup$ That is a really interesting skybrary article you linked to; I'd suggest editing the answer to the effect of "you can find much more information here" or something. $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2019 at 12:42

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