April 13th, 2011
01:43 PM ET

Another air traffic controller allegedly caught asleep at the switch

The FAA is investigating yet another case in which an air traffic controller apparently fell asleep while on duty, a source says. The incident occurred Wednesday morning at Reno-Tahoe International Airport. It would be the third incident this year involving a sleeping controller.

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Filed under: Air travel • Nevada • Travel
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. nur amabo nur

    HA!!! I never saw anyone who works for Halliburton do back breaking work !

    April 13, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nur amabo nur

    Yup, usually a brass helmet.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy

    A brass helmet? That's IT? O.o

    April 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jacqueline C

    I have two money-saving suggestions to improve safety...

    SUGGESTION ONE: Instead of paying at least $100,000 for an additional air traffic controller in 'off hours' just to keep the one REQUIRED air controller awake... why not hire a person with proper security screening but with far lesser skills at a much reduced rate of pay... maybe a $35,000 a year fancy 'baby sitter'.

    SUGGESTION TWO: Why not set up a remote video monitor that fed into one central monitor, to keep tabs on ALL the air traffic controllers on 'night duty'. Then if one was seen to be nodding off, sound a very loud alarm in the control tower, waking up the dozing controller. This would save over $3 million a year over the proposed 'double staffing' idea.

    April 14, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. tr1phas3

    It cracks me up to see all the people saying "Fire them and let me do it!" I'm guessing that 99.5% would wash out of the job the first week, if not the first night – leaving out the very real possibility of causing a disastrous accident.

    April 14, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    I think controllers be required should take a sleep study to test for sleep apnea witch would cause one to fall asleep after 5-8 hour into one's day.
    Sleep apnea affect everyone! every person in one form or another has sleep apnea and most don't now they have it. Diagnosis of sleep apnea will help the one from falling asleep 5-6 hours into the work day ether by a C-PAP and/or surgery & exorcise.
    In my opinion this is the most likely the cause for the air controllers falling asleep. Before firing these people after all the drug testing is done look at how much dose the controller weighs and how many hour worked in one day.

    April 14, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. D. Grant Chee

    Evidently, a percentage of unionized workers become complacent; delusionally believing they are so secure in their so important and difficult job that they deserve to be less than motivated - lulling themselves to sleeepppp. The solution is
    to simply write into the contract that going to sleep on the job results in loss of all pay, benefits, retirement pay,
    loss of their job permanently and a $50,000,00 fine; or, imprisonment if their lack of motivation results in death. A sleeping ATC is not only overpaid and under motivated, he/she is worthless. Fear and respect are good and most realistic motivators. USArmy Aviation forever.

    April 16, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
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