Travel Log – New Procedures for Air Traffic Controllers

March 31, 2011
By

It is hard to imagine an air traffic controller falling asleep while on the job in the main control tower at Reagan National Airport.

Even more impossible to believe is that two jet liners landed without assistance while the controller apparently took a snooze.

This is exactly what occurred on Wednesday, March 23.

There is no making light about this serious breach of safety and procedures.

The Federal Aviation Administration handed down new procedures as a result of this incident.

Regional radar facilities, including Logan’s are now required to alert controllers working alone at night in an airport tower when a plane is approaching, according to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

Babbitt said that controllers are now under strict orders to confirm there is a controller prepared to handle the incoming flight.

Short of that, regional controllers have been told that if a controller cannot be communicated with at an airport tower, they have the option to divert the aircraft coming to land to another airport.

During the recent incident at Reagan, regional air traffic controllers closeby in Warrenton, Virginia, didn’t offer that option.

When pilots heading into Reagan were unable to reach the airport’s tower, they decided to land on their own, according to the FAA.

Both flights landed safely and without incident.

The American Airlines flight and a United flight were carrying 165 people combined.

Controller fatigue is what apparently caused this incident, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said.

The controller had worked four all-night shifts in a row.

While his identity has not been revealed, he has apparently admitted to dozing off.

The FAA is examining all possible options.

A congressional committee is said to be investigating the incident.

The dozing air traffic controller is likely to be fired and sent looking for another job when all is said and done.

  • http://www.simplyvillaholidays.co.uk Luxury Villa Holidays

    Its really a shocking news.. They don’t even think about the life of people.. They should be suspended for ever so that they realize there big mistake.. The tragedy related to airlines are increasing day by day..

  • http://www.airport-parking.org.uk/east-midlands-airport-parking/ Adam

    Brilliant blog. Definitely given me something to think about.I would never have normally come here to read the blogs but I’m really glad I did. Will definitely be coming back.