Tag Archives: In the News

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation – ATO Heads Resigns Amid Reports Of Controllers Falling Asleep

American workers continue to suffer more and more from the effects of sleep deprivation.

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Traffic Organization (ATO), Hank Krakowski, resigned on Thursday due to the number of reports that have surfaced on air traffic controllers falling asleep in the control towers.

The primary service of the Air Traffic Organization is to move air traffic safely and efficiently. They employ 35,000 controllers, technicians, engineers, and support personnel whose daily efforts keep the airplanes moving.

Here is a link to the ATO

– Recently in California an air traffic controller feel asleep while a medical flight was landing. It appears that the pilot and airport staff was unsuccessful in contacting the controller. The FAA reported the pilot was in contact with regional radar controllers in northern California during the landing.

– Nevada, at 2 AM the pilot of a Piper Cheyenne airplane tried to contact the controller at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. After 16 minutes and favorable conditions the pilot landed the aircraft without incident.

– Washington DC, two jetliners landed their aircraft at Washington’s Reagan National Airport without tower assistance. – Tennessee, reports indicate that the controller at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville could not be reached by landing aircraft for five hours.

– Seattle Washington a controller was suspended for falling asleep during a morning shift and apparently this had happen on to other occasions. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association has long advocated for adding two controllers on the midnight shift and had warned of the dangers of single controllers, long tiring work hours, many of the towers to not have bathrooms and the controllers are unable to take a break from being in the tower for 8 straight hours.

Source: Aviation Online

Sleeping Air Traffic Controller Suspended

An air traffic controller who was unavailable to help two jets land at a busy Washington DC airport has been suspended, an official has said.

The planes landed safely, despite being unable to make contact with the control tower early on Wednesday.

The lone nighttime controller at Reagan National Airport had fallen asleep, the Associated Press reported.

In response, regulators have ordered that two controllers be on duty on the midnight shift.

The jets carried a total of 165 people.

The FAA has launched a national inquiry into tower staffing, officials said.

Aviation officials told media the overnight shift at the airport was typically manned by a single controller.

The jet pilots were unable to raise the airport control tower on the radio as they approached to land. The efforts of other controllers elsewhere to reach the tower by telephone failed as well.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that in response he had directed the FAA to put two controllers on the midnight shift at Reagan National Airport.

Source: AP