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Some Points on the incident at Reagan National from Bill Voss
· The incident at Reagan National was very unusual. It didn’t create much of a real safety threat, but it does point out some things that may need to be addressed.
· There was only one controller on duty, and one could argue that this is adequate given the extremely sparse traffic at that airport at night.
· It is possible that controller dozed off, but that would be surprising since it happened very early in the shift. Normally people struggle to stay awake in the hours just before dawn (3-5am).
· If could be possible that the controller locked himself out of the tower while going to the bathroom. Maybe we should admit that can happen and make procedures to deal with it?
· There will be a call for mandating 2 controllers on every shift, but at the same time there is a Bill under consideration in Congress that would cut the FAA’s budget by 20%.
· This incident could result in a bunch of silly rules and finger pointing, or it could launch a legitimate debate around fatigue, staffing, and risk. I vote for the latter.
posted 3/24/11 9:30AM