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Controller asleep _ but how many did airport need?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Should jetliners be landing with only a single air traffic controller on duty — even if he's awake? Federal officials are grappling with that question following the safe landing of t . . . ( Daha Fazlası...

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With two controllers at KDCA on the midnight shift they can take turns sleeping!
Ronnie Mc 0
Fourth straight overnight shift!? No wonder he fell asleep!
Bobby Rhett 0
Ronnie, I respectfully disagree. Working overnights is not nearly as hard as changing shifts. People have been doing shift work since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution...and for thousands of years if you include the night watchmen and soldiers. The problem comes if they work mixed shift on Monday and Thursday but night on Tuesday. By the fourth night, the sleep schedule SHOULD have been adjusted. Something kept this controller awake the day before. The investigation will tell us what that was, and whether or not the controller should have called in sick as unable to perform the required duties with an adequate margin of safety.
jcisuclones 0
I don't think the air traffic controller should lose his job because of this. He was clearly fatigued, and like Ronnie said, it was his 4th straight overnight shift. I think this is a learning experience for the ATC and aviation worlds. There are usually a lot of controllers in the tower during the daylight hours, due to high traffic, but at night, most airports don't get much action, if any. I do believe that there should be two or more controllers in the tower at night. It's all for pilots, passengers, and everyone’s safety.
Michael Fuquay 0
Let me get this straight - 5 aircraft movements in 8 hours - I don't care what time of day it is, for a six figure salary, I'm your man!!

What a dream job this guy had, and now he blew it.
sstuff 0
My understanding is that ATC “controls” flights to within plus/minus 10 miles of the airport. A tower controller is not necessary to further guide the flight to touchdown. A tower controller is necessary, however, to assure and proclaim to the flight’s crew that the active runway is free of obstruction (airport maintenance crews, tugs repositioning aircraft, company maintenance vehicles, cargo movement, and the like).

I may be naive, but *one* awake and alert tower controller should be able to ascertain and declare the runway to be clear, or not. If we’re looking for a “bad guy,” it seems to me staggered work shifts is a likely culprit. *Consistent* duty hours (e.g.,10pm - 6am) appears to be a good start to prevent recurring incidents. The unholy coupling of news outlets and politicians can only complicate an otherwise workable solution.
David Kay 0
How many commercial flights have landed without final clearance? FAA, ALPA, the airline, one of these has to have a procedure to cover this possibility. I say they should have diverted to Dulles or BWI.
preacher1 0
In all the stories that have been printed about this incident over the past week, besides myself, Bobby Rhett is the only other one commenting in this forum that has hit up on the fact that this guy was working an 8 hr shift and NOT WORKING A SPLIT SHIFT.If he was into his 4th night and say went to sleep around 1am, that's only 27 hours. There is something else here that hasn't been told.
Then there's this retired controller in the article that says they ought to have 2 in the tower, because that's why Airlines have 2, that one can fly but the 2nd is for safety. Now, I haven't flown any of this new stuff out there, but when I did not that long ago, there wasn't much commercial stuff out there that was certified for 1 man operation.
Ross Bowie 0
I agree with Bobby Rhett and would add that providing more than one controller at an airport with fewer than one movement per hour doesn't make financial sense. Many controllers work shifts in towers and ARTCCs and their job is to stay awake and perform regardless of their shift. Many businesses including aviation are not 9 to 5. There is no parallel with airline aircraft where two pilots are needed to handle emergencies and other high workload situations.
Robert Miller 0
Same thing happened at PBIA back in the 80's or 90's. Delta couldn't raise the tower late one night so they got on the company frequency and asked for help. Delta called the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office at the airport and a couple of deputies woke up the controller. I remember a directive was issued that the tower be manned 24/7 with a minimum of two controllers. What I can't recall is if this was a local or nationwide directive.
Bill Fugerer 0
Why not hire lesser paid employees for the purpose of keeping a controller awake or in the event of a medical problem (heart attack, stroke, etc.) would be able to get assistance. This does not have to be a six figure employee but just someone who is trained in cpr and first aid.


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