Mr Babbitt announced on Wednesday that the FAA would place an additional air traffic controller on the midnight shift at 27 control towers across the country; previously, they had been staffed with only one controller during that shift.I cannot for the life me figure out why anyone would think that a posting a lone air traffic controller on the night-shift was a good idea! Anyone who has worked nights understands there are moments when the body and mind go fuzzy. It doesn't matter how much sleep you've had the day before.
The issue rose to prominence last month when two jets were forced to land at about midnight at Reagan National Airport, just by Washington DC, without help from the local control tower. The pilots, who carried 165 people aboard the two planes, were unable to raise the tower controller on the radio, and a subsequent investigation revealed he had inadvertently fallen asleep during the shift.
This week, the FAA revealed that an air traffic controller at a major airport in Seattle had fallen asleep during a morning shift on Monday; the FAA said he had also fallen asleep on two separate occasions during an early evening shift on 6 January.
And a controller in the US state of Nevada was asleep and out of communication for about 16 minutes on Wednesday while a medical plane was landing, federal officials have said. An air traffic controller in Tennessee was found to have lain down for a nap during an overnight shift in February, the Washington Post reported.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I've been following the dozing air traffic controller issue in the US a bit.