Thursday, April 7, 2011

US: Another air-traffic controller falls asleep -- yes, this happens often

A second air-traffic controller has been found sleeping on the job at night — this time intentionally. And the government said Wednesday he's being fired for it.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the unnamed controller slept for five hours intentionally during the midnight shift on Feb. 19 in Knoxville, Tenn.

It's the second incident in as many months that an FAA controller fell asleep during a midnight shift. A supervisor working alone at Washington's Reagan National Airport fell asleep for at least 24 minutes shortly after midnight on March 23.

In the incident at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, a controller working in a radar room responsible for guiding planes in a roughly 50-mile radius around the airport was unresponsive for five hours, the FAA said.

Another controller working at the airport's tower was able to monitor the seven aircraft that flew into the airspace during that time, the agency said in a statement. All of the aircraft landed safely.

"The FAA will not tolerate this type of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior," the statement said. (read more)