Pilot: Requesting permission to land. Over. Control Tower:ZZZzzzzz…….
When you get on a plane you do something that most people wouldn’t choose to do; you put your life into someone else’s hands. By getting on an airplane you show confidence in the trained individuals that perform maintenance on the aircraft, pilot the aircraft and direct the aircraft; however recently that confidence has been shattered. The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA has recently been reporting more and more cases of air traffic controllers who have been found asleep on the job. Air Traffic Controllers, or ATC’s, have arguably the most important and tedious job in aviation, next to long distance pilots. They are the one who track planes routes, making sure no planes have mid air collisions and also directly control landing and takeoff patterns of planes. They are the ones responsible for keeping the hectic skies in sync; you could say they are the ones whose job it is to simply control the chaos. ATC’s jobs are extremely fatigue inducing and extremely demanding, having little time for sleep and working extended hours on already overly demanding schedules. Since late March, there have been 5 reported ATC’s who were found sleeping in the control tower while on the clock. This is extremely dangerous, because if no communication is coming out of the tower, the planes in the area are left all on their own, putting passengers and crew in a potentially life threatening situation. The government has now really begun to set regulations into place. They have cut the hours ATC’s work, added more staff to ensure there is always someone available in the tower, and set a no tolerance policy up where ATC’s sleeping on the job will be let go.
In August of 1981, FAC’s went on strike to protest the unfair working conditions they endured. President Ronald Reagan stated that the ATC’s had violated a regulation put in place that prohibited government unions from going on strike. He declared this a state of emergency because there was no one regulating the skies and bodly stated that if the workers “do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated”. The ATC’s didn’t budge and in respond Reagan unwilling to work with them fired “11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored his order to return to work”. Government clearly wasn’t afraid to take action, but instead of helping the workers it desperately needed, it cut back on them. This could be viewed as a regulation that if anything hurt the FAA more than helped it.