JP Vossen on 29 Sep 2009 12:19:56 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Software for tracking/calculating/presenting time periods (off-topic)

> Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009 11:30:30 -0400
> From: Greg Helledy <>
> We have a project which involves studying fatigue in airline pilots. 
> Unfortunately, many pilots are unable to achieve 8-hour sleep periods, 
> napping when and where possible.  As a result, they experience multiple 
> sleep/wake cycles per day...sometimes several.  With an aircraft having 
> two or three flight crew, and looking back 72 hours before an accident, 
> it can become complex to work with, understand and present to others the 
> time periods involved.
> Is there any specialized software for working with time periods?  What 
> would it be called?  If anyone has experience with this, please let me 
> know (off-list is probably best).

The two things that occur to me are:

1) Using a spreadsheet (like's Calc, and there, we're 
back on-topic :) to create a trivial "bitmap" of sleep/wake times. 
Column A is hours 1-72, columns B-? are crew names.  There's an S or W, 
or just an X, or whatever, in the cell as needed.  Or S = sleep for 
whole hour, s = sleep for half an hour, or whatever.  Or up to four 'X' 
for 15-min increments.  Or...or...or...

2) Using some (F/OSS :) project management software set up so that the 
dependencies and critical path makes sense.  I know very little about PM 
software, so this idea may be infeasible, but it's something that is 
geared to charting time periods...

The more I think about this, the more I think some kind of visual 
"bitmap" is going to be the way to go.

But I also kind of think you must be re-inventing the wheel.  The FAA & 
NTSB must already have some standard way to do this.  Probably any 
accident investigation type organization does.  And there must be some 
books.  OK, here we go:

Lots of stuff on the shuttle, but also a book:
Modern accident investigation and analysis - Google Books Result Air Accident Investigation (9781852606145): David Owen ...

That last one looks like the--ummm--ticket...  And the "Searches related 
to: accident investigation timeline" at the bottom of the Google page 
look good too.

JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|
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