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Yet Another Problem Obama Inherited From the Previous Administration: Sleeping Air Traffic Controllers

By Doug Powers  •  March 24, 2011 08:20 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

Thanks to contingency plans, confusion in the air around Reagan National Wednesday night was avoided, but a controller has been suspended:

Authorities have suspended a control tower supervisor working alone overnight who couldn’t be roused to guide two airliners landing at Washington’s Reagan airport, the nation’s top aviation official said Thursday.

A lone controller manning the tower did an impression of me listening to a Joe Biden speech and fell asleep at the switch, so naturally the president of the controllers union blamed… George W. Bush:

“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.”

I’m sure somebody will get around to blaming Reagan too (after all, this happened at his airport)… oh, and global warming, of course — not necessarily in that order.

**Written by Doug Powers

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