A Federal Air Traffic controller has been removed from his duties at Reagan National airport after two pilots had to land their jets without clearance from the control tower. The controller on duty was the only person in the tower during the overnight shift and he told investigators that he had fallen asleep.
Pilots said they had tried to get the air traffic controller to respond for 24 minutes and received no response.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident and said they are not ruling out “human fatigue issues.”
The President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Paul Rinaldi, says his association opposes having only a single person in the control tower during in overnight shifts. He said:
“One-person shifts are unsafe. Period. [The] NATCA has long been outspoken in its opposition to one-person staffing on any shift. In fact, the NATCA membership, in its strong commitment to aviation safety, adopted language in its formal constitution nearly 20 years ago opposing one-person staffing on a shift. That language remains in effect today.”
Luckily, no accident resulted due to this incident. In the past decade there were three incidents of near-misses attributed fatigue on the part of the air traffic controlled.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured due to the negligence of another including motor vehicle accidents and air traffic accidents.
United Flight from Seattle turns around after passenger injured
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