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And -- Nevada our next story air traffic out of control take a listen.
As a passenger jet tries to land two nights ago and Washington's Reagan national airport.
-- I feel honored layer where the half hour is apparently.
-- -- We played people probably can't carry those who have played within the past they're thinking that they -- it let it go ahead.
This plane -- another jet following it we're forced to land without control tower assistance because the on air controller.
On duty was apparently asleep rejected picks up the story from Reagan national airport where are -- with regards to be -- TSB investigation.
-- Well the first investigation that we have here the FAA's going to be looking into this that was ordered by the transportation secretary Ray LaHood.
-- secretary lahood is also ordered now that the traffic control tower here at national airport be staffed by two air traffic controllers.
On the midnight shift that would you look at the traffic situation here at national and where you need traffic controllers and where you don't.
One safety expert says it's not only.
Common to have one air traffic controller on at times -- it's got pretty light volume at the airport.
But it's pretty -- pretty common to have no air traffic controllers -- -- Some airports have -- of our control towers some airports have part time control towers maybe 6 AM to 10 PM.
In an area where there's so little traffic at night it's not justified and then.
About 90% of the airports in the country.
Have no control -- at all so there are procedures in place for all of those.
And the -- -- question we're talking about here where they control officer either fell asleep or just wasn't in the control tower at the time.
Here were three different flights that arrive at national airport.
All all right.
They're -- stay there -- wanna go more to this story because a lot of but things that we need to kind of figure out here and to the FAA and the NTSB is going to be the next piece of us are gonna have to figure out.
Let's bring in a different -- -- former inspector general us Department of Transportation Mary oh boy this story was meant for you.
I tell -- is good buddy wants to add a second controller to the overnight shift their Reagan and that they answer.
Know the answer is really is where is the supervisor in -- had control tower like Reagan or any of the big airport to towers in this country -- supervisor does have to be on duty sometimes it's supervisor can be designate to be the controller.
But here we want to know who is in charge and what happened when I was inspector general I mean this is not an isolated instance this does happen from time -- time.
Controllers fall asleep sometime they have emergency you know heart attacks strokes.
Yeah you name it so it has happened before but you need to have a supervisor in charge who is is able to determine what's going on and -- in Washington Reagan.
Where you have that terrorists look -- -- -- restrictions on entering the airspace even if you stray into it accidentally.
That controller has to be on the lookout for those kinds of problems.
Mary let me ask you this the Canadians privatize their air traffic control system back in 1996 -- NAV Canada and apparently being very happy -- that system.
How that work -- do you think.
Well actually we had several up privatize air traffic control towers -- called contract towers and we do contract out contract towers and it didn't work so well here.
We at the same kind of problem that contractor traffic -- -- in fact we had that in some cases some additional problems.
Where they tried to cut back on staffing more understaffed I had problems at times filling them -- It didn't work out all you know all wasn't rosy at those towers as well but it really does boil down to one common thread and that is -- that management where's the management -- all -- -- -- remembers the midair over the Hudson River the manager wasn't even on duty at the tower so.
You need to have accountability and responsibility.
Here and I think there's a missing piece and we'll probably hear about as soon as who was supposed to be a manager at Reagan at that time what I'm that's.
Probably a good thing and that he was so -- I think he is a supervisor rich let me let me clarify is -- -- this this individual who -- Under investigation he was acting as a supervisor and that is the law right -- -- that was what said the situation is is what I've heard at this airport that there was the supervising he was when he was -- control acting is and the control tower.
Let me ask you this -- just because I used to work an island industry Mary wanna kind of explain to our viewers I mean look it -- these these two Jumbo -- would not have landed at Reagan if that weren't say they've made the call there was another tower within the fifty mile radius which is.
Which is -- lot -- despair.
The only issue really been up there would have been something and the -- that they did not see but from my understanding is this night it was clear.
So I think it's I don't know what I'm trying to ask you Mary is at the end of the day -- -- fell asleep but it could have a heart attack so maybe we over reaching a little bit here is lahood.
Answer here or refusal that.
Well it is except that it does happen to be Reagan national airport there have been instances including me out terrorist attacks and and there was one instance today in the day and he had ninety's were somebody intensity -- a small plane that tried to land a small plane into the White House -- It because is Reagan national it's different but -- the previous come and I was absolutely right we have 460.
Commercial use airports in the United States and most of them at night you go dark.
And we can't have air traffic control services perfectly legal what the pilots did -- contacted the -- time they get the same radar feed on their radar screens however.
The -- air traffic control tower has witnesses are supposed to be on the lookout and at Reagan national it is a strategic enough location that Ray LaHood is probably right.
They need a second person -- Make sure it's a supervisor.
There Mary is there any concern about the up about the testing that these air traffic controllers.
Are put through to see I mean if if an individual is capable of falling asleep on the job is and that's something that that this screening process should be able to pick up.
Yes and they do they are tested for a number of things their health they go through psychological testing -- the FAA is under crunch right now remember everybody remembers when out President Reagan fired the striking air traffic -- -- some years ago.
Those controllers are now eligible for retirement it's -- over twenty years in the next three -- five years the FAA will be -- replacing almost the entire air traffic control.
A workforce and so.
They don't lightly let somebody go because they say that they've invested in the person and they will want -- you know use that investment in that person in their train to the fullest extent.
But many times you do have health issues sleep apnea and other problems which they are supposed to test for and sort out what people need to self report that -- and so that's why the FA often does inspire people in the -- travel.
Although in some instances like the -- in -- I would've fired them.
They do try to retrain again try to see if medication are the problems and help because there's got to be severe air traffic controller shortage in the very new for near future -- he it is Greg talked at least cut today's conference -- -- general at the Department of Transportation average up somewhat -- out at Washington's Reagan international.
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