By Chris McKinnon, WBZ-TVBy Chris McKinnon

BOSTON (CBS) – Every day, planes fly over our neighborhoods, manned by pilots who could have been at the controls for 16 hours.

That’s despite safety rules that went into effect last year which were meant to insure pilots are well rested.

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Cargo planes are big jets, but despite the fact they rival passenger jets in size, their pilots can fly almost twice as long before getting a mandatory rest.

UPS Captain Bob Machette says managing fatigue is an integral part of his job.

“We all accept it,” he said.

After a UPS plane crashed short of the runway in Birmingham, Alabama in 2013, the cockpit recorder revealed the crew talking about their level of fatigue.

Last year, the FAA tightened the rules regarding the number of hours a pilot can fly at night to nine. But this regulation was only directed at pilots who fly passenger jets.

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

(WBZ-TV Graphic)

Cargo plane pilots can still be scheduled for night shifts of up to 16 hours.

Time lapse video shows how the majority of cargo flights are at night.

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“You cannot be flying a large jet aircraft without proper rest,” said Congressman Michael Capuano.

Capuano is co-sponsor of the Safe Skies Act which would apply the same standards to all pilots, both passenger and cargo.

“I think it is just a matter of time until the FAA realizes their inconsistency is providing an unsafe environment, again, not just for the workers. If a plane falls out of the sky, other people will be injured,” said Capuano.

This push comes at a time when the cargo business is expanding at Logan Airport. The most recent numbers show the year to date growth through last October is approximately 9 percent.

Critics of the current rules believe the federal government caved into intense lobbying pressure from the cargo industry.

Steve Alterman of the Cargo Industry Association responded that their pilots don’t need the same amount of rest as other pilots.

“Our pilots already fly only about half the time that the passenger pilots do, so it is a completely different business model,” said Alterman.

But for pilots like Machette, the concern is about safety in the sky and safety on the ground.

“You are always concerned, not only with yourself obviously, but the people who are underneath your approach and landing path,” Machette said.

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