» Some hard numbers: Our whole grumbling about air traffic controllers being the new sharks did get us curious about whether there were actually more errors among air traffic controllers. But USA Today beat us to the research back in February. Their findings? Incidents involving air traffic controllers are up 81 percent since 2007, from 1,040 to 1,887 in 2010. More serious incidents — which we’re assuming “sleeping on the job” includes — are up 26 percent over the same period, from 34 to 43. Not to say air traffic controllers shouldn’t be incredibly good at their jobs, but considering that we’re still talking about less than 2,000 incidents nationwide — big or small — over an entire year suggests at least some degree of overreaction.
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.FAA chief administrator Randy Babbitt • Expressing anger and outrage over the reports that a number of their air-traffic controllers have been caught sleeping. The situation is the key reason why the FAA Air Traffic Organization’s leader, Hank Krakowski, no longer has a job. To us, to be completely honest, sleeping air traffic controllers are the new sharks. The fact of the matter is, air traffic controllers probably slept through a lot of incidents like these before the media started paying attention. Now that they are, it’s imperative to change things. But we bet that things are only changing because the media suddenly cares. source (via • follow)
» It’s unclear how sweeping a change this really is, reason being the FAA issued this requirement for 27 airports nationwide, and it’s rather hard to find information like how many air traffic controllers work which night shifts at which airports, internet notwithstanding. That said, this seems like the prototypical, blindingly obvious safety issue which looks shocking that people hadn’t considered it already. The fact that the U.S. faces a shortage of trained air traffic controllers is quite known, though, and you can’t exactly manifest them out of thin air. How will the FAA solve this problem long-term with an ever-dwindling supply of people?