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Whew, no one injured at Reno airport! - Steve Brecher
April 13th, 2011
03:43 pm


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Whew, no one injured at Reno airport!

I burst out laughing when I heard, on an AP video report, the statement "No one was injured" on a 2:00 AM flight into Reno-Tahoe International airport last night while the sole air traffic control tower controller on duty was napping.

A Las Vegas Sun story says,
Air ambulance operators are trained to respond to medical emergencies, not to make emergency landings.

But a team flying a sick passenger into the Reno-Tahoe airport early this morning appears to have had to do just that, when an air traffic controller fell asleep on the job.
Emergency landing!? That is ridiculous.

Air traffic control (ATC) provides a useful service in helping to separate taxiing, landing and departing aircraft at busy airports. But the great majority of airports do not even have ATC towers. And at many airports which have towers, the towers close at night—but the airport remains open to arrivals and departures.

Reno-Tahoe at 2:00 AM is not a busy airport. Its tower could be closed at that time without adverse effect. But now, because Secretary of Transportaion Roy LaHood is "totally outraged" that several controllers on solo duty have been caught napping recently, Reno and 26 other airports will get a second controller during the wee hours.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid, quoted in an ABC News story:
To think that this pilot was forced to land without any controls on the land is very, very scary. This shouldn't happen in Nevada. It shouldn't happen anywhere in our country. It shouldn't happen in any airplane. And it certainly shouldn't happen in an air ambulance.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
Even I know what the procedure is for landing at an uncontrolled airport, and I'm not a pilot.
[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:40 pm (UTC)
Why not just fire the guy and be done with it? One episode of sleeping on the job does not an epidemic make.
[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
Why not close the tower from midnight to 6:00?

A small "epidemic" is one reason the story is prominent. USA Today:: "At least four more air-traffic controllers are suspected of nodding off on duty at three separate airports across the nation, the government said Wednesday."
Date:April 13th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
Then the dude from the Hood wouldn't be able to posture.

The comment from Reid is equally posturing but it contains the extra logic error of assuming (hyperbol'ng?) that the air traffic controller was sleeping specifically so he could get caught during a low probability event. But then it is almost written in a Dr. Seuss style so I guess I can forgive him.

Instead of hiring more people how about more automation? If you are so worried about demanding human attention hasn't anybody heard of motion detectors and alarms. Oh yea, that wouldn't pump up LaHood's hood so much.
[User Picture]
Date:April 19th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
"Why not just fire the guy" is one of the core problems with Government.
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