FAA Fires Two Air Traffic Controllers

Posted Apr 21st 2011 08:30 AMUpdated Apr 21st 2011 08:34 AM

TEXT SIZE:

AAA

The hits just keep on coming, don't they? The Obama administration dispatched Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to PBS' "News Hour" to reassure the flying public of the capabilities of existing air traffic controllers.

While there, LaHood said that two controllers were fired due to their actions.

The controllers in question worked in Miami and Knoxville.

The Miami controller had the nerve to "guided a 737 Southwest flight to take a look at a small plane that was out of radio contact to see if something was going on. It completely violates procedure. You can't guide a big plane over to look at a small plane. That's not the way that's done."

Got that right.

The Knoxville controller was interesting in his approach: He brought a bed, complete with pillows and blankets to his job and slept for five hours, despite attempts by his coworkers to wake him up.

LaHood said that they had, in fact, extended rest time from 8 to 9 hours between shifts--which, when you think about it, is not long at all.

LaHood's appappearance comes day after a 737 carrying Michelle Obama and Jill Biden had a major mishap while landing at Andrews Air Force Base. As a result of that, air traffic controllers are no longer allowed to supervise flights carrying the First Lady or Vice President; that job instead goes to air traffic supervisors.


Despite all the issues the FAA is having with controllers, LaHood said that indeed "flying is safe but we need to do more"

WATCH LaHood's appearance below:



Filed Under: Air Travel, News

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

100 Comments

Filter by:
Ann Gidden

Having supervisors (ONLY) control air traffic when it involves the First Lady (and other important political persons) is not the bonus it appears to be. Many supervisors have not controlled air traffic in years. They might be a bit "rusty". Their job is more about aperwork and supervising shift changes, etc. Not always controlling traffic. My husband used to be an air traffic controller (now deceased) and this is they way it was at one time. I assume it is the same way now. Many supervisors are also older and near retirement so their reflex time may be slower. I think this needs to be reconsidered.

April 23 2011 at 11:18 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Kay

I agree with csmjwoody, I have worked a swing shift and have also seen people work three 16 hour shifts in a row. And some live more than a hour away from work. Now you tell me how they are going to get home, shower, eat and drive back to work and still get 8 hours sleep. It can't be done! I lived only 20 minutes from work and I would not work more than one double shift unless forced to. I also had to do the family laundry, cook and clean and do the shopping! And another reason I didn't have to work more than one double at a time, there were always enough greedy men who wanted it. My health was more important to me, plus, my husband would not lift a finger to help at home.

All I really can say is that 9 hours between shifts is not enough! And when you work alone it is much harder to stay awake and in the conditions the controllers work in, dark rooms and little light, has to be much harder than what I had, and I know how tired we got sometimes on midnight shift!

April 23 2011 at 10:59 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
csmjwoody

They overwork these people with back to back shifts and tell the public they have 8 to nine hours between shifts. Anyone out there ever work a double back shift with exactly 8 hours between shifts that ever managed to get 8 hours of sleep. Your damn lucky if you can get 4 hours and you always get up again groggy, feeling like you just cannot get into gear and get going. These clowns who never lose a minutes sleep unless it is spent coming up with ways to get more taxes out of you then fire a controller because they fall asleep. I was in civil service for over 30 years as a law enforcement officer. I spent a week in a tril during the day and then working a twelve hour shift at night for five straight days getting 3 hours sleep a day. On the fifth day I went home and collapsed and could not wake up to go to work on the sixth shift in a row. My reward from the department was a three day suspension for failing to go to work. What really pisses me off is these people are overworked when they should hire more people and they are supposed to be looking out for our safety. They are worked to the point of exhaustion and they get fired because the fat cat who is home sleeping thinks this will placate the public. It is your life LaHood is playing with. HIRE and TRAIN MORE PEOPLE LA HOOD.

April 23 2011 at 10:37 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
manmi1

When is America going to wake up and fire anyone in congress who falls asleep? This happens quite often and I think they should be "let go."

April 23 2011 at 9:57 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to manmi1's comment
moore240

so why wasnt joe biden fired for falling alseep during a budget speach given by obama,if it was so important?hmmmm1

April 23 2011 at 11:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cmax383666

Cannot the pilots of these planes ,see anyinformation about whatn is in front of them?

April 23 2011 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tr00fdetector2

The FAA should eliminate rotating shiftwork. I was on it for 2 years and eventually couldnt sleep. I had to find another job because I was sleepy most of the time.

April 23 2011 at 9:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
builtincal

Government doing what it does best...failing.

April 23 2011 at 9:46 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
toomnycars

This is all a union conspiracy. A few of the rank and file controllers (and members of the union) take one for the team, and the resolution is to what?---HIRE MORE CONTROLLERS! I rest my case.

April 23 2011 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JOHN W SNAUFFER

IT IS ABOUT TIME THEY GET OF THEIR (BUTTS) AND START KNOCKING SOME HEADS AROUND. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLES LIVES THEY ARE PLAYING AROUND WITH AND IT ISN'T ANY JOKE. IF THEY ARE ACTUALLY CAUGHT SLEEPING ON THE JOB, FIRE THEM ON THE SPOT. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A NEW A380 CRASHES ON TOP OF A B747 AND KILLED EVERYONE ON BOTH PLANES? REMEMBER THE CANARY ISLANDS CRASH WHEN 2 B747'S CRASHED INTO EACH OTHER A FEW YEARS AGO?

April 23 2011 at 9:25 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
lasergunn

Supervisors for Michelle & Biden acknowledges the inferiority of their underlings. Am I supposed to be reassurred?

April 23 2011 at 9:09 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Don't Miss

Fotosearch

Find the best resorts, wherever you are.

Hit The Slopes
Corbis

Tales of learning to expect the unexpected.

Change Your View
Getty Images

Unexpected encounters and wildlife tours.

Cows, Sharks, Monkeys & More

Travel Careers

amtrak train conductor

See the world and interact with people from different cultures.

flight attendant plane interior

It's as crazy as you think.