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Squawks & HeadlinesMcGhee Tyson Airport air traffic controller caught napping

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McGhee Tyson Airport air traffic controller caught napping

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The worker was found "intentionally sleeping" during his midnight shift on February 19, 2011. He was on duty in the radar room. (www.wbir.com) More...

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durieloree
Duriel Oree 0
Why isn't there at least two controllers in the tower on graveyard shifts? I guess they have forgotten about Comair flight 5191?
Cessna582
Mark Gandy 0
I live only a few miles from this airport. I don't want a jet crashing into anything due to ATC failure.
rwf1001
The thing that absolutely boggles my mind is that....at least according to this report.....this particular ATCr INTENTIONALLY was caught asleep....let me get this straight...he WANTED to get caught!!????!!!!
brendandenisflynn
Who is the supervisory personnel responsible for this person? He had to have arrived with his bed sack during the previous shift wherein a supervisor was present. This guy makes good traffic controllers look bad. Fire him and worry about the legalities later. This is cut and dry.
alfadog
alfadog 0
@Robert Fleming
You mean as in "please someone, stop me before I kill again!" ;)
No, he was "intentionally sleeping", meaning that he made deliberate plans and actions to nap rather than just falling asleep at his station.
gftt
gftt 0
Fire him now ! No excuse for his behavior.
He didn't nod off at his post, he made a bed with the intent of sleeping.
He was stealing from his employer as he collected his pay for duty he did not perform. How many nights had he done this in the past?
There is no defense for this person. The union should be happy to weed out this bum.
rdaggettpa
Falling asleep at ones station is unfortunate (for all involved) but people are human and things happen. Deciding to make a bed on the couch and go lie down (apparently multiple times) is gross negligence. If the facts as presented are correct and the union decides to defend this guy then they loose all credibility when it comes to issues of "safety".
bakerb3
Bob Baker 0
Airplanes aren't going to fall out the sky because the guy is sleeping. Controllers and pilots are perfectly capable of handling the situation as was shown by this incident and the incident at Reagan. That said this is certainly a "gross dereliction of duty" and I hope the union does not defend him and if they do, I agree with Mr. Daggett that the union will lose a lot of credibility.
Topper1
W S Webb 0
obama and Reagan slept on the job.
oakwood
We need two controllers in case one falls asleep? When did it become acceptable or a foreseeable event that controllers would fall asleep on the job. Seems to me that FAA should be looking at criminal charges instead of dealing with the controllers Union.
dabuzzo
Buz Page 0
There are 12 to 14 thousand controllers working our system and they are without a doubt the best in the world. I know, I spent 40 years availing myself of their services. These incidents only come roaring to our attention because of the fact that there was more than one in a short period of time. Also because the news media enjoys anything to do with commercial aircraft. These guys work rotating shifts and the sleep cycles are a mess. Families and personal problems have an effect. Each situation must be handled quietly and with restraint. As Bob Baker said; "airplanes aren't going to fall out of the sky." Lighten up boys...Your angst should be saved for the clowns in D.C.
rdaggettpa
I have nothing but the greatest respect for our controllers. Any of us involved in aviation are human and make mistakes. The fact that there are so few should be the news not this. There is a big difference between the Reagan incident and this. One was human error the other intentional. If you go to work planning on sleeping, call in sick. What this guy did is a slap in the face of the thousands of controllers who are the professionals we rely on.
oakwood
Lighten up? No one should sleep on the job! The clowns in Washington are an entirely different matter. This is a serious matter and happening all too often. If they cant handle their shift they shouldnt be there taking the pay. I really dont think their super sensitive union is allowing them to be over worked. I work 60-70 hrs a week and have great stress but I do not sleep on the job or go to work under the influence. Nor do I have people's lives under my control. This is not acceptable. Buz you need to WAKE UP!
Tuantran
Tuan Tran 0
Why do tax payers need to pay 2 air traffic controllers in the low traffic midnight shift ? Do the F16s need two pilots, or trucks need 2 drivers just in case one falls in sleep ?

This is the typical example that the union wants to create a more expensive and ineffective system to protect their incompetent members and to gain membership.
jimnbubba
James Gibson 0
The clowns in DC sleep on the job,that is when their there!!
randygarmon
Randy Garmon 0
I can tell you what most likely happened because I've seen it before. The airspace is dead (no traffic) and there's nothing to do. TYS is called an up/down facility. That means controllers are certified both in the tower and the radar room. The guy in the tower probably selected the approach frequencies and worked the entire picture up there while the guy downstairs got to sleep. There is most likely a reciprocal agreement when the situations are reversed. This may be just between those two controllers but is probably facility wide. It's not pretty but it's not a big deal either. Pilot safety is NEVER even remotely compromised (EVER). If it gets too busy for just one, the guy upstairs wakes up the sleeper and all is well. Granted this is the height of embarrassment and the agency should be ashamed, but it ia practiced in many facilities. One last thing: The guy at DCA didn't have anyone else there. That's a big problem. But that's not what's going on at TYS. You can take that to the bank.
dabuzzo
Buz Page 0
Thank you Randy !!!! Finally someone who knows how it works. Geeze..
NWACAPTAINMIKE1
Hello Buz

CessnaPilot10
They need to really get a grip
pallejrgnchristensen
The press and public reference is "Die Hard 2" - Sorry Bruce Willis, Total B.S. Controller falls asleep - planes fall out of the Sky. (What are these pilots really there for?)
JGBflyer
Jon Braun 0
@W S Webb

And George Bush was awake during the month of September in 2001? Right.
oakwood
Randy, my recollection is that the awake controller tried unsuccessfully to raise the sleeping controller for 5 hours. You say that this was dead time and safety was never compromised. Do you remember the Comair tragedy in Lexington that occurred with only one awake controller on duty. I remember it well, I lost a friend on that flight. Have you looked at the investigation findings? Lexington now maintains at least two controllers on duty to prevent another tragedy from occurring. Controllers are human and make mistakes but it is less likely when two are awake and overseeing flights.
Does our society really accept a controller sleeping on the job for five hours while being paid to oversee a ultrahazardous activities? Why do you think they are drug tested?
I dont care about the embarrassment, I am concerned with the lives of people in the air and on the ground.
Again, I think there should be repercussions.