Friday, March 25, 2011


An air traffic controller fell asleep at Reagan National Airport in D.C. a couple of days ago. Ronald Reagan, of course, busted the Professional Air Traffic Controllers' Organization (PATCO), but these folks do have a union today -- the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

But -- as noted in this NBC story and elsewhere -- the sleeping controller wasn't a member of the union. He was an FAA supervisor. That fact was well enough known that even this right-wing blogger felt the need to change the title of his post on the story, from "Unions at Work -- Air Traffic Controller Asleep on the Job" to just "Air Traffic Controller Asleep on the Job."

Update: The title of this post has changed because subsequent news reports indicate that the controller in question was a supervisor, and therefore most likely was not a union member.

Ah, but not Fox Nation.

Here's FN's brand-new thread on the story:

And not only was the sleeping supervisor not a union member, but the union has actually been trying to prevent incidents like this -- as noted in the very story Fox Nation links:

On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood LaHood directed FAA to launch a nationwide study of airport tower staffing. He also directed that at least two controllers be on duty at night at Reagan, which is located just across the Potomac River from Washington in Northern Virginia.

"It is not acceptable to have just one controller in the tower managing air traffic in this critical air space," LaHood said.

The head of the union that represents air traffic controllers praised LaHood's actions, saying changes in staffing are needed.

"One-person shifts are unsafe. Period," Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said in a statement Thursday. He said the union has long been concerned about single controller shifts, citing a 2006 air crash in Lexington, Ky., in which a Comair regional airliner attempted a takeoff at night from the wrong runway. A single air traffic controller was on duty in the airport tower at the time.

"The administration inherited an unsafe policy of staffing to budget instead of putting safety first," Rinaldi said. "We fully support the administration's aggressive actions to change this policy."

Fox: deliberately setting out to make its audience ignorant. Again.

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