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by J Lynn Caldwell
published by Avebury Aviation £20
ISBN 0754633004 (available from Amazon)
This overview of fatigue includes fatigue definitions, the measurement/assessment of fatigue and the performance, mood and safety problems associated with fatigue in the operational setting. The physiological bases of fatigue are discussed, so the reader understands that fatigue is a physiological phenomenon that is not "just a state of mind". Finally, scientifically valid countermeasures are discussed and data from a variety of sources are included to provide readers with a "toolbox" from which they can choose solutions to fatigue related problems. This book is meant to be a "user-friendly" book, not a scientific book, although science is included to help the reader understand why certain behaviours occur.
This is an interesting and informative book. I do not necessarily agree with the definition of “chronic fatigue”, as I consider it to be a definite clinical condition that requires a separate strategy of treatment. It is a condition I have personally seen and treated many times in aircrew over the years, and is definitely different from “acute fatigue” due to recent sleep loss. This is my main criticism of a book written by psychologists, who would have benefited from some clinical aviation medicine input in the drafting stage.
The book is however, one of those practical useful guides, which will sadly, never be read by those to whom it should really matter and who should read it, namely everyone in aviation management, scheduling and rostering.
The need for fatigue countermeasures is something all aviation companies must address. Those of us closely involved know it is not easy to achieve such strategies, but ways have to found, before the Authors and the Reviewer end up investigating a "fatigue accident".
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