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.Emergency landing!? That is ridiculous.
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.
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.