Entries in asleep (3)


Not Again! Air Traffic Controller Falls Asleep On the Job

Comstock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Another air traffic controller fell asleep on the job Saturday morning, just as the Federal Aviation Administration plans to change schedules linked to controller fatigue.

The agency claims that no flights were impacted by this latest incident. The air traffic controller has been suspended.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced Saturday that he has ordered certain scheduling changes to take effect within 72 hours.

“We are taking important steps today that will make a real difference in fighting air traffic controller fatigue," Babbitt said. "But we know we will need to do more. This is just the beginning.”

The air traffic controller at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center did not miss any calls from aircraft, according to the FAA.

In a joint op-ed for USA Today published online this weekend, Babbitt and National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi said, “These recent incidents have cast doubt on whether our nation's controllers are truly committed to keeping the skies safe. We want to tell you they are.”

The pair called the American aviation system the safest in the world, but added that “we can do better.”

“On Monday, we are kicking off our Call to Action on air traffic control safety and professionalism," the op-ed reads. "We will be traveling to air traffic facilities around the country, to reinforce the need for all air traffic personnel to adhere to the highest professional standards.”

The article, written before this latest incident, was to be published in Monday's print edition of USA Today.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama to Sleepy Air Controllers: 'Better Do Your Job'

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama lectured air traffic controllers in an exclusive interview with ABC News, impressing on them the enormous responsibility of safeguarding flying passengers and telling them, "You better do your job."

The president spoke after several controllers were caught asleep on the job and the man in charge of air traffic control, Hank Krakowski, resigned on Thursday.

"The individuals who are falling asleep on the job, that's unacceptable," the president told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Thursday.  "The fact is, when you're responsible for the lives and safety of people up in the air, you better do your job.  So, there's an element of individual responsibility that has to be dealt with."

Five controllers have been suspended for apparently napping on the job while planes were trying to land at their airports.

The president said a full review of air traffic control work shifts is underway.

"What we also have to look at is air traffic control systems.  Do we have enough back up?  Do we have enough people?  Are they getting enough rest time?" Obama said.

He added, however, "But it starts with individual responsibility."

In March, two commercial airliners were forced to land unassisted at Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport after a controller apparently fell asleep.

Just days later, two controllers at the Preston Smith International Airport in Lubbock, Texas, did not hand off control of a departing aircraft to another control center and it took repeated attempts for them to be reached.

On Feb. 19, an air traffic controller in Knoxville, Tennessee, slept during an overnight shift.  Sources told ABC News that the worker even took pillows and cushions from a break room to build a make-shift bed on the control room floor.

And this month, there were two more incidents.  A controller fell asleep on the job in Seattle, and days later a controller in Reno, Nevada, was snoozing when a plane carrying a critically ill passenger was seeking permission to land.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Navy Drops Discharge of Sailor Found Asleep with Another Man

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- The Navy has dropped discharge proceedings against a young petty officer accused of "unprofessional conduct" after he was found asleep in bed with another male sailor earlier this year.

Stephen Jones, 21, a student at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, S.C., had said his attempted ouster was motivated by homophobia, not a legitimate crime.

"This was an attempt to utilize supposed misconduct to get around 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' provisions," said Jones' civilian attorney Gary Meyers. "He's never said that he's gay, and no one asked him. It's irrelevant. He didn't do anything wrong."

The reprieve for Jones came Friday from the "upper echelons" of the Navy, Meyers said.

In an interview last month, Jones said he and friend Brian McGee inadvertently dozed off while watching the Vampire Diaries on a computer in his quarters Feb. 6.

"I asked several times about what was unprofessional about what I did, and every time they said it's just unprofessional. Period," said Jones.

Jones was wearing pajama pants and a white t-shirt, laying on top of the covers; McGee was in boxer shorts under the blanket on Jones' twin bed, according to both men's accounts.

When Jones' roommate, Tyler Berube, walked in shortly after midnight, the sleepy sailors woke up, got dressed and went back to their rooms.

Several days later, however, Jones and McGee were cited with dereliction of duty for "willfully failing to exhibit professional conduct in his room," according to the Navy report specifying the charges.

McGee accepted the charge and received docked pay. But when Jones refused to accept a penalty, instead hoping for a court martial to prove his innocence, he was ordered separated from the Navy for good.

While there was no evidence of homosexual conduct presented in the statements given by the three men to military investigators, Jones and his civilian attorney Gary Meyers believe homophobic suspicions were motivation for the charge.

Gay and lesbian advocates also warned the case illustrates a loophole for continued discrimination against homosexual service members complication despite the impending repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

A copy of the Navy's investigative report confirms that Berube discovered the two men asleep in bed, well before the 2 a.m. curfew Feb. 6, but does not detail how Jones or McGee may have exhibited unprofessional behavior.

"Guys are always playing video games, watching movies, in other people's quarters," Jones said. "Brian and I hung out on a regular basis. Curfew was 2 a.m. We woke up between 12 and 12:30, and were back in our rooms before 1. I have never been in trouble ever in all of my life."

A spokesman for the Naval Nuclear Training Command did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment but told the Washington Post, which first reported on the case, that "the determination was that two sailors sharing the same rack was unprofessional."

Attorney Meyers said, "If this is a problem, every kid who was ever in a fraternity or sorority or in a dorm room, wearing boxers and sitting on the bed, is going to have to look at their conduct again."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio