Secretary Ray LaHood Doesn’t Need No Stinkin’ Experts

FAA Gives Tired Controllers an Extra Hour to Rest

Those air traffic controllers, you know, the people who make sure planes don’t crash into each other and land safely? Some of them have been caught nodding off on the job. Why? They’re totally exhausted. What was the recommendation to remedy the problem? Sleep experts said they should be allowed to take naps. Germany and Japan allow their controllers to do so, and have set up special rooms and cots for them. Right now, they can’t even nap during their breaks!! WTH?

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took a look at their recommendation and tossed it aside. Instead, he’s making sure that each controller have 9 hours off between shifts instead of 8. Big whoop. Experts said that the problem for midnight shifts would only slightly improve.

Does Secretary LaHood know what’s in fire stations? Beds. Rested workers are good workers. When we’re dealing with multi-ton objects flying around in the sky, having alert ones would be helpful.

Bill Voss, president of the Flight Safety Foundation of Alexandria, VA summed it up beautifully:

“Given the body of scientific evidence, that decision clearly demonstrates that politics remain more important than public safety. People are concerned about a political backlash if they allow controllers to have rest periods in their work shifts the same way firefighters and trauma physicians do.”

Yeah, screw safety. It’s all about placating the base.

9 responses to “Secretary Ray LaHood Doesn’t Need No Stinkin’ Experts

  • Terrance H.

    It’s amazing how damn dumb “educated” people can be, don’t you find? It’s as though we have to make every mistake in the book, live through every conceivable disaster, before common sense hits us like a fat baseball bat.

    Unreal. It’s like nuclear power plants. Yep. Sounds good in theory – then one blows up.

  • nonnie9999

    where exactly would the political backlash come from, other than the politicians themselves? people would like to know that the people directing their planes (as well as their pilots) are well rested. it’s not just about people who travel, but those on the ground who might be hurt (or worse) if and when a plane crashes.

  • lbwoodgate

    The GOP doesn’t think we can afford the extra air safety measures:

    The Republican-drafted bill, a blueprint for FAA programs, would cut the agency’s budget by nearly $4 billion over the next three and a half years. The bill’s sponsors said the government can spend less on aviation oversight and still maintain air travel safety.

    But Democrats said the proposed cuts to the FAA budget would force the layoff of hundreds of workers, including safety inspectors, and would likely delay modernization of the nation’s air traffic system, which is needed to accommodate forecasted increases in passengers and flights.” SOURCE

    “The plan would also cut funding to upgrading air traffic control systems and safety at JFK and LaGuardia airport, during a time when the national threat level has never been higher.” SOURCE

    In all fairness to Ray LeHood:

    Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he was outraged and said the problem “will not stand on my watch.” That’s good. This can’t continue.

    On Wednesday, the agency immediately ordered 27 towers that are staffed overnight with one air traffic controller to add a second controller. The FAA is also conducting a top-to-bottom review of the nation’s air traffic control centers and has reinforced nighttime safety procedures. On Thursday, the head of the agency’s air traffic control centers resigned. SOURCE

    • Spinny Liberal

      Thanks for the additional info, lb. The second controller is a great idea he implemented. IMHO, it doesn’t go far enough. And he refuses to. Two controllers is standard procedure in many towers, internationally. Thing is, over there, when one is manning the controls, the other is sleeping. Then, they switch.

    • Terrance H.

      I would think spending the extra money now in order to update the system would payoff in the long-run….

  • notesfromrumbleycottage

    I thought I had heard a news report stating that a second controller would be added to these towers. While LaHood does not encourage naps, this might be a way to solve the problem while secretly encouraging switch-off napping.

    • Spinny Liberal

      Yes, I think he is implementing that. In other countries, there are two controllers. One mans the controls while the other naps, and then they switch. I hope he will let that occur.

      Thanks for reading!

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