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Air Traffic Control

August 19, 2011 | By Sam Farmer
The Oakland Raiders were the NFL's second-ranked running team last season, yet were 23rd when it came to throwing the ball. Not to worry. Al will address that. That's Al Saunders, not Raiders owner Al Davis. Saunders, who oversaw some of the more successful passing offenses in NFL history, was hired this year as Oakland's offensive coordinator, filling the job vacancy created when Hue Jackson was promoted to head coach. It was a move that brought Saunders' career full circle, seeing as the 64-year-old coach once worked as a Raiders ball boy and twice interviewed with Davis for the job as head coach.
April 21, 2011 | By Rick Pearson and Jon Hilkevitch, Chicago Tribune
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, embarrassed by reports of air-traffic controllers asleep at their jobs, said today that as well-trained professionals they have a "personal responsibility" to get their job done -- including resting when they're off the clock. LaHood reiterated that while he is open to suggestions from the Federal Aviation Administration and the air-traffic controllers union, "we're not going to pay controllers to take naps. I've already decided that. " Speaking to the Chicago Tribune's editorial board, LaHood, a former Republican congressman from Peoria, also said the federal government will fund high-speed rail lines because "the people want it," despite opposition from some Republican governors and the deficit-cutting plans of House Republicans.
April 21, 2011 | Times staff and wire reports
— Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced Wednesday that two air traffic controllers had been fired — one for sleeping on the job, the other for questionable guidance of a jetliner over Florida. They had been among nine suspended during Federal Aviation Administration investigations into a rash of incidents involving controllers, including several who were sleeping and one who was watching a movie when he was supposed to be directing air traffic. Separately, the FAA said aircraft carrying the first lady or vice president would receive a higher level of scrutiny from controllers since the aborted landing of a plane carrying Michelle Obama this week.
April 21, 2011
There seems to be an epidemic of under-sleeping these days. This year alone, seven air traffic controllers have been caught sleeping on duty. In two well-publicized cases, pilots were heard nearly pleading with control towers to guide them in. (The planes landed safely.) The most recent incident occurred Saturday, when a controller was observed sleeping at a Florida tower. (He did not miss any calls from pilots.) In response, the FAA has adjusted controllers' schedules and mandated that additional controllers be assigned during sleepy midnight shifts.
April 20, 2011 | By James Oliphant and Katherine Skiba, Washington Bureau
A plane carrying First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden had to abort a landing at Andrews Air Force Base because an air traffic controller allowed it to get too close to a military cargo plane landing ahead of it, a federal aviation official said Tuesday evening. The Federal Aviation Administration said neither plane was in danger. Obama and Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, were returning from New York City aboard a Boeing C-40, akin to a 737, on Monday when their plane neared the base behind a C-17 cargo plane.
April 18, 2011 | By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
Air traffic controllers will be required to take at least nine hours off between shifts — one more hour than the current practice — and supervisors will work more overnight hours under new rules announced Sunday. Controllers will not be permitted to lengthen their weekends by swapping shifts if that could put them on unscheduled midnight duty or deprive them of enough rest, Federal Aviation Administration officials said in a statement. Managers also will be required to schedule their shifts to encourage greater coverage in the early-morning and late-night hours.
April 17, 2011 | By Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
Federal officials moved Saturday to address the problem of air traffic controller fatigue and announced they would adjust workers' schedules after another controller fell asleep on duty, this time at a center handling high-altitude air traffic near Miami. The latest incident came to light when one controller reported that a co-worker was asleep on duty Saturday. A preliminary review showed that the sleeping controller did not miss any calls from pilots. But the incident — the seventh reported to the Federal Aviation Administration this year — highlighted the urgency of the issue.
April 15, 2011 | By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
The Federal Aviation Administration launched a review of the nation's air traffic system after a top agency official resigned Thursday because controllers fell asleep on the job. The resignation of Henry Krakowski, who was responsible for operations, planning and maintenance of the air traffic control system, comes after a series of high-profile embarrassments in several states and Washington, D.C., where controllers have fallen asleep while working...
April 14, 2011 | From Times wire reports
The Federal Aviation Administration official in charge of operating the air traffic control system has resigned amid revelations that several controllers have fallen asleep on the job this year, the FAA chief said Thursday Stepping down is Hank Krakowski, who has been the head of the FAA Air Traffic Organization. David Grizzle, the FAA's chief counsel, will be the acting chief of the unit during a search to fill the post, according to Randy Babbitt, the agency's administrator. The development came after another air traffic controller apparently fell asleep while on duty, the sixth such incident this year that the FAA has disclosed.
April 14, 2011 | By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
The nation's top manager of airplane traffic resigned after several incidents in which air traffic controllers fell asleep at their posts, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday morning. The agency, which oversees the nation's civilian aviation system, announced in a posting on its website that FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt had accepted the resignation of Hank Krakowski, head of the agency's Air Traffic Organization. In recent weeks, several incidents of air traffic controllers being asleep at the job have been reported around the nation.
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