Reagan air traffic controller fell asleep, NTSB says
March 24th, 2011
05:18 PM ET

Reagan air traffic controller fell asleep, NTSB says

The air traffic controller involved in the radio silence incident at Reagan National Airport fell asleep as planes approached the airport for landing, the National Transportation Safety Board says.

The controller, who had 20 years experience, 17 of those at Reagan, told officials he had fallen asleep for a period of time while on duty, according to an NTSB statement. The controller was working his fourth consecutive overnight shift (10p-6a.) The NTSB says it has opened an investigation.

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soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. Sheera

    20 yrs and this is the 1st time that he did this. It is a quiet place @ those hrs. @ least the man was honest.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Boob

    I got it-gay air traffic controllers, they wont fall asleep becasue they would be too busy,
    if you know what i mean...

    March 25, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Dirt

      Thank you for your well thought out, intelligent contribution.

      March 25, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    A human can only stay awake for so long. If he replacement doesn't show up your screwed.

    March 25, 2011 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tg

    No kudos for the pilots?

    March 25, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    we need more train travel to be cheeper.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joe Dirt

    Some jobs require being alert and awake, particularly those where human lives are at possible risk. Surgeons aren't allowed to sleep during operations, soldiers aren't allowed to sleep while on watch, and certainly air traffic controllers aren't supposed to sleep while on duty.

    He deserves to be fired, and then something needs to occur at a management level, too.

    March 25, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • superdave

      He was management. He was a Supervisor. If it was a controller he would have been fired. He'll probabl end up with a promotion.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sleeeve

    Well, I only wish the air traffic controller had entertaining comments to read to keep his ass awake like i have. Some of you guys- waayyy to f'in hilarious!!

    March 25, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. superdave

    Jeez why does eveyone keep referring to this guy as a controoler. He was a SUPERVISOR. Big difference.

    March 25, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. nappy

    Here it comes... from the FFA's brightest... (a.k.a. – former washed out controllers now hiding in Management positions), the umteenth staffing study, followed by the gazillionth controller fatigue study, followed by... (drum roll... or rim choose) NO CHANGE. They never did away with the one person mids after Lexington when they were told to, why would they do it now? I am so TIRED of all this, I think I need to take a nap.

    March 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. penaltyvectors

    I was in the military as a controller and now the FAA. In the military we worked a part of every day of the year with our eve day mid 32 shifts. That is you start say on a Monday 2-10 come back in the next morning work (Tues) 6-2 and then back in the same Tues night and work 10pm to 6-am . Then you get 32 hours off to start your 3 day work schedule again. Sounds great only you spend the first 10 hours sleeping.

    I work similar hours now but only 2 nights 2 days and an overnight. There really is no getting used to working these shifts. When I get home from my 3pm-11 at 1130 I can't get to bed right away which ends up being at least 1230. Then I get up in the morning to get kids off to school. Back in for another 3pm-11 and same as previous night can't get to sleep right away so it's 12-1230 before I hit the bed. Then i have to get up for my 7-3 shift and get kids from school after work. I could sleep here a little but guess what I haven't seen my kids but an hour in the last 3 days. I try to get to bed early that night only to find out I can't get to bed til 1130-12 since that has been my sleep pattern. I wake up for my 6-2 shift and try to get some sleep before kids get home from school again so I can spend a little time with them. Then it's back to work that same day at 10pm-6am. Try to sleep as much as i can but it's hard when your body say's it's daylight out and you need to get up. I finally get a good two nights sleep only to start the work week over again. I'm sure there are people who will say I chose the job and they are correct because it is one hell of a job but it does take a toll on the body and your sleep pattern. Do I think this guy should be fired.....hell no. Do I think he needs to take a few days off punishment.......yes. And the FAA needs to wake up or there will be more of this or even worse like Lexington KY Comair accident. By for now as it's 925pm and I have to head into work. Good night......for some 🙂

    March 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ericdaluz75

    Over the life of a 30 year loan, a $300 per month decrease would equal over $100K in savings. Search the web for "Mortgage Refinance 123" website they helped me find 3.118% rate easily. Strongly recommend them for anyone. Good luck.

    March 26, 2011 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. TSO

    This incident didn't surprise me at all. I used to work for the FAA, and their policy regarding working hours is unconscionable. Their mandate of 8 hours' rest between working shifts leaves many of their controllers severely fatigued. The rest period should be at least DOUBLED. I know...I retired because of this.

    March 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
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