50pc pilots have fallen asleep at controls of aircraft
Half of airline pilots have admitted that they have accidentally fallen asleep at the controls of a jet plane, a survey in Britain has revealed.
A third of the airline skippers confessed that when they woke up they found that their cockpit colleagues were also dozing, the Mirror reported.
Most pilots revealed that they have made mistakes because of tiredness, but the fear of being disciplined stop many of them from telling their bosses when they are unfit to fly.
The European Cockpit Association, which represents pilots, released its findings and warned that fatigue is a "common, dangerous and under-reported phenomenon," the Mirror reported.
One in three pilots across Europe said they had nodded off while at the controls.
The figures were worst among captains who were surveyed in Britain, Norway and Sweden.
"The only way to recover from fatigue is to get adequate rest," the publication quoted an ECA spokesman as saying.
"But a reality check shows this remedy is not a solution for many pilots across Europe. Long duty and standby hours, night flights and disruptive schedules often result in long periods of being awake and sleep deprivation," he said.
The spokesperson added that pilots then have little chance of making up for the lost sleep and chronic tiredness.