Better check if the pilot is awake

London, Nov 19 (IANS) It may come as a rude shock for frequent fliers but nearly half of the pilots have fallen asleep at the controls of airliners, carrying hundreds of passengers, a report has revealed.

Large number of pilots are half−asleep or not even awake while flying passenger aircraft, according to surveys carried out by the European Cockpit Association, which represents pilots, Daily Express reported Monday.

Between 43 and 54 percent of pilots polled in Britain, Norway and Sweden said they had fallen asleep "involuntarily" while flying and a third of these said they woke up and found their colleagues were also asleep!

"Long duty and standby hours, night flights and disruptive schedules often result in long times awake, sleep deprivation and are followed by insufficient rest and poor sleep opportunities," said the pilots' group spokesperson.