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Changes to air control

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Changes to air control

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The United States government is changing air traffic controllers’ work schedules most likely to cause fatigue following another incident in which a controller fell asleep while on duty, this time at a radar center in Miami, the Federal Aviation Administration said today.
The latest sleeping incident — the fifth to be disclosed by the FAA since late March — occurred early this morning at a busy regional facility that handles high-altitude air traffic, the FAA said in a statement.
According to a preliminary review of air traffic tapes, the controller did not miss any calls from aircraft and there was no impact to flight operations, the agency said. The controller, who was working an overnight shift, has been suspended.
Prior to the start of the shift, all controllers were given a briefing on professionalism and the importance of reporting to work fit for duty, FAA said. The incident was reported to a manager by another controller, the agency said. There were 12 controllers on duty and two managers, it said.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt were briefed on the incident early this morning by David Grizzle, acting chief operating officer of the Air Traffic Organization.
Last week, the FAA announced it was ending its practice of single-staffing some airport towers where traffic is light between midnight and 6 a.m. But aviation safety experts said more needs to be done to address the broader problem of fatigue-inducing schedules that don’t allow controllers realistic opportunities for sleep between shifts. (AP)