Remember the air traffic controller who fell asleep at the controls on the graveyard shift in DC last month, forcing a pilot to land a passenger jet on his own? Well, there seems to be somewhat of a pattern developing here: FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt testified at a congressional hearing about the incident yesterday, and said that in February an air traffic controller at Knoxville, Tennessee's McGhee Tyson Airport was "found intentionally sleeping" on the job. And the best part? He brought pillows and a cushion with him!
Oh, but there's more comforting news from the hearing. Remember the Southwest flight that made an emergency after a five-foot gaping hole appeared in the roof? Those cracks are expected to happen! More scary things from the hearing, according to Bloomberg:
Cracks on the so-called 737 Classics that were built between 1993 and 1999 weren't predicted to occur until "much later," after 60,000 cycles of takeoffs and landings, Paul Richter, Boeing's chief project engineer for older jets, said yesterday. Southwest's plane will be 15 years old in June and had flown 39,781 cycles.
"This is something that was not forecast and happened in an area that we're going to take another look at," Babbitt said in an interview.
Damn those cracks for appearing much earlier than expected. But back to the sleeping on the job thing — The guess here is that the airlines will sneak a napping fee onto plane tickets if they're forced to keep more than one controller on duty overnight. The consumer always loses.