FAA operations head resigns in disgrace

While passengers lives hung in the air, air traffic controllers slept like babies.

From the NYTimes:

Official in Charge of Air Traffic Control Resigns

Published: April 14, 2011

The official in charge of air traffic controllers for the Federal Aviation Administration resigned Thursday after a series of episodes in which controllers across the country slept as airplanes landed.

Henry P. Krakowski, the chief operating officer of the agency’s Air Traffic Organization, tendered his resignation one day after the agency changed its policy permitting a single air traffic controller at each of 27 airports across the country overnight. Each of those airports will now have at least two controllers at night.

Well, the panic in the tower just ratcheted up a notch…

Here’s a quote from the article:

J. Randolph Babbitt, the administrator of the aviation agency, said Thursday in a statement: “Over the last few weeks we have seen examples of unprofessional conduct on the part of a few individuals that have rightly caused the traveling public to question our ability to ensure their safety. This conduct must stop immediately.”

In all, at least five controllers have been suspended in the past few months for failing to respond to aircraft seeking to land. In most cases, if not all, the controller on duty in the tower had been sleeping at the time, the agency said.

Wow. Guess those requisitions for extra pillows went unnoticed.

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