Fatigue can have a substantial impact on your ability to complete a task successfully. In the aviation industry, studies on fatigue have often focused on pilots. Fatigue is also a potential safety hazard for others in the aviation industry, including air traffic controllers. A study of controllers completed in 2011 shows that the typical work schedules used in the industry can lead to chronic fatigue.
A Boeing 767 carrying 204 passengers struck the tail of a smaller plane carrying 74 passengers while the planes were taxiing at Logan International Airport. The airplane collision took both planes out of service and is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB joined the investigation due to the severity of the damage to the aircraft. Only one person was taken to the hospital as a result of the incident.
Last week we shared a story about the ongoing problem of napping air traffic controllers. Yesterday the Federal Aviation Administration issued new rules intended to prevent air traffic controllers from sleeping during overnight shifts while they are supposed to be ensuring that airplanes are directed safely to and from their destinations, and avoiding airline accidents.
Another in the recent string of near misses for the airline industry yesterday as a United Airlines flight made a safe emergency landing after the on-board power went out shortly after take-off. Without any instruments to guide them, the pilots relied on the directions from air traffic controllers and the landmarks which they could see out the window of the cockpit to return the airport.
You likely heard about a situation last week in which two airline flights, including one from Chicago, landed at Reagan National airport without the assistance of the air traffic controller who had dozed off. Fortunately both plans landed safely, but now there are rumblings within the airline industry about what should happen when a situation like this arises.