Errors due to sleep deprivation among the nation’s air traffic controllers are more common than you might think. A recent study revealed that more than 20 percent of air traffic controllers are required to work at least one overnight shift every two weeks, making safety errors relatively common, officials said.
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Debbie Hersman urged the FAA to change its scheduling policy in the best interest of safety.
Since February, six controllers have been caught sleeping on the job during an overnight shift, including an event on Wednesday in Reno in which a medical rescue plane was forced to land unassisted when the pilot couldn’t reach a controller at the airport’s tower.
The controller was placed on suspension, and the incident prompted last week’s resignation of the FAA’s air-traffic chief, Hank Krakowski.