Saturday, April 16, 2011

Epic FAA-IL 5th Air Traffic Controller in Less than 1 Month Suspended or Fired For Sleeping on the Job

The FAA said that an air traffic controller had fallen asleep at the job early Saturday Morning at a facility in Miami, the fifth such incident in approximately three weeks.

The incident occurred at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center during the midnight shift early Saturday morning, two days before the FAA is expected to conduct meetings on air traffic control safety and professionalism, the FAA reported. According to a preliminary review of air traffic tapes, the controller did not miss any calls from aircraft and there was no operational impact, the agency said in a statement. The incident was reported to a manager by another controller, the FAA said. There were 12 controllers and two managers on duty.
The Miami incident came a few days after two air traffic controllers were caught dozing off on the job in two separate instances- one in Seattle's Boeing Field and the other at Reno-Tahoe international in Reno, NV. In the Nevada incident, a medical flight was attempting to contact Air Traffic Control, but the plane was able to land safely in clear weather without guidance from the tower.

The head of the FAA's air traffic organization, Hank Krakowski, resigned last week in the wake of similar incidents of air traffic controllers napping on the job. The FAA terminated a controller who was caught napping at McGhee Tyson International Airport in Nashville, TN back on Feb 19th and an American Airlines and United flight landed at northern Virginia's Reagan International Airport across the Potomac from Washington D.C in the early morning hours of Mar. 23rd without any aid from the tower because the controller there was reportedly asleep.

Incidentally, the FAA appears to be looking to train and hire more air traffic controllers at this time.

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