The title to this piece is, of course, a thinly veiled reference to an ultimate chick-flick, [Sleepless In Seattle]. Not that I am intimately familiar with the movie because of being forced to watch it several times, but I just couldn’t resist.
No, one doesn’t really have anything to do with the other. That is, except for [this] incident. For this is about the problems we have been having lately with midnight shift air traffic controllers falling asleep while on duty.
The first time I heard of this was when a couple of airliners couldn’t get in contact with the tower at [Reagan National Airport] almost a month ago, and since then, there have been [several] similar incidents.
The one in [Reno] was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. For soon afterward, the head of the FAA [resigned] amid allegations that he had told airports to wait until further instructions before adding a second air traffic controller to late night shifts.
Alas, is this not proof-positive that one does not have to have any sense to get ahead in this world? For to not have at least two air traffic controllers on duty at all times at every major airport is just insane to me.
Compounding the issue is the fact of air traffic controllers being placed on swing shifts, which do not allow for a stable routine, which is essential for proper rest for most people. For these shifts might have an air traffic controller being on duty from 4 P.M. to midnight, and then right back to work from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. the next day, with another shift scheduled for the next midnight.
Okay, I was an over-the-road truck driver for many years. Therefore, I had to deal with an even more bizarre work schedule, but that was different. For I could often pull off of the road and take a nap when I needed to while an air traffic controller cannot do that when planes are needing landing instructions.
I am not sure if it is the same system, but my wife was subjected to swing shift scheduling when she was made the front-of-store manager for a Hastings Book/Video Store several years ago. For her work schedule was made by a computer program that would often have her opening the store in the morning right after closing it the night before, which often left her practically brain-dead from having her sleep schedule constantly being disrupted.
[New rules] were just put in place, but it sounds like more stupidity as usual. For adding another hour between shifts is not going to do much when you are not sleeping sound. Besides, what about when a lone air traffic controller becomes incapacitated from a medical emergency?
Yeah, the tea-partiers are foaming at the mouth about this being another example of why we can’t trust the government to run things right, but can we trust private entities anymore when there is a profit to be made? Woe be it unto us all.
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