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Air Traffic Controllers Caught On Video
My Fox NY ^ | Feb 24, 2012

Posted on 02/29/2012 6:20:20 AM PST by KeyLargo

Air Traffic Controllers Caught On Video

Updated: Friday, 24 Feb 2012, 6:13 PM EST


MYFOXNY.COM - Westchester County Airport is a growing destination for seven different commercial airlines, from JetBlue to U.S. Airways and its one of the busiest airports in the country serving the corporate world.

Seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., air traffic controllers guide flights serving nearly 2 million passengers a year.

Sometimes 100 planes take off and land in an hour.

A source, that Fox 5 News is not identifying, says, "I'm upset and extremely concerned with things taking place at Westchester tower."

Risking a career or worse, the Westchester controller that is Fox 5's informant, documented many instances where fellow controllers had their eyes anywhere but on air traffic.

We're talking about sleeping, reading, texting.

"It poses an extreme threat to public safety. If someone's not paying attention 100%, attention, between separating arriving and departing air traffic, you could have a near miss or worse."

The video and photos provided to Fox 5 News appear to show up to ten air traffic controllers at Westchester Airport, where the job is all about watchfulness.

They are supposed to be scanning the skies, bringing incoming flights in safely and sending departing airplanes off without incident but some look more like dozing passengers. They are apparently sleeping in the control tower while on duty, others reading, or playing with their cell phones, or working their laptops.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: air; controllers; planes; sleeping

1 posted on 02/29/2012 6:20:28 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: KeyLargo; Tijeras_Slim; FireTrack; Pukin Dog; citabria; B Knotts; kilowhskey; cyphergirl; ...
2 posted on 02/29/2012 6:23:05 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: KeyLargo

Its called AUTO-PILOT for a reason !!!

3 posted on 02/29/2012 6:23:20 AM PST by Delta 21 (Make your choice ! There are NO civilians.)
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To: Delta 21

Air traffic controllers union endorses Obama

By Keith Laing - 11/16/11 09:58 AM ET

The union for air traffic controllers is endorsing President Obama’s bid for a second term next year.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said this week that it was “enthusiastically” backing Obama in the 2012 presidential election, even before it is clear whom he will be running against.

Officials with the union said that the Obama administration had been supportive of its causes.

“President Obama and Vice President Biden are fully committed to continuing to improve what is already the world’s safest and most efficient airspace system, and we stand with them,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said in a statement...

4 posted on 02/29/2012 6:28:35 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: Delta 21

5 posted on 02/29/2012 6:31:58 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: KeyLargo
I don't know about Westchester Tower, or really how things are these days, but I was a guest at the "New York Center" many years ago (before Reagan fired my IFR instructor). And based upon that experience, a sleeping controller would be no big deal. At the NYARTCC, 75% of the people I saw in the building weren't even working. (They were playing bridge, watching TV, etc., and this was at the supposed busiest time of the day.) Of the ones who were working only about one in four were actually directing air traffic. The rest were gofers.


6 posted on 02/29/2012 6:39:28 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
The Air Traffic Controllers Union is recommending to Obama's FAA that signs need to be posted in all ATC facilities warning that all electronic devices be turned off such as video phones as a safety measure.

There. Fixed.

Therefore any whistle-blowers with ideas of daring to film air traffic controllers viewing porn, sleeping, or watching movies while on duty will be banned from doing so.

7 posted on 02/29/2012 7:01:31 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: ml/nj

Re your post #6, I guess it’s where you go...and when. Some years ago (and it was a lot, so maybe my observations are way out of date), I was shown the air controllers at work at a location just outside Washington, DC. The controllers there were working air corridors for a good portion of the east coast.

What I saw were a lot of people sitting at their screens highly concentrating on what they were doing. No slackers in sight.

Another thing I noticed: practically everyone was smoking cigarettes. I think that was to reduce the tension, because
these men (and a few women) literally had the lives of thousands of air passengers in their hands.

Maybe times have changed. I’m just telling about what I saw.

8 posted on 02/29/2012 7:24:35 AM PST by OldPossum (ou)
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To: OldPossum

9 posted on 02/29/2012 7:33:55 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: KeyLargo

I see the union lackeys are bombarding the comments at the site. They will all need chiropractors after all the contortions thay are doing.

Sorry, when you are working on the clock, you shouldn’t be sleeping, period.

10 posted on 02/29/2012 7:47:48 AM PST by headstamp 2 (Liberalism: Carrying adolescent values and behavior into adult life.)
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To: headstamp 2
Airports and Air Traffic Control

by Robert W. Poole, Jr.∗ and Chris Edwards June 2010 Overview A Brief History of Federal Funding Privatizing Airports The Crisis in Air Traffic Control Commercializing Air Traffic Control


The U.S. economy depends on safe, reliable, and affordable air transportation. Beginning in 1978, airline deregulation transformed commercial aviation from a luxury for the few to a service available to essentially all Americans. Air transportation is a hugely important part of the economy for business travel, tourism, and domestic and international trade.

The quality and cost efficiency of air travel relies critically on the nation's aviation infrastructure. That infrastructure includes commercial airports, which are virtually all owned and operated by state and local governments in the United States, and the air traffic control (ATC) system, which is operated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In fiscal 2011, the FAA budget will be about $16.4 billion.1 Of the total, $9.7 billion will go toward "operations," which includes $7.6 billion for air traffic control operations, $1.3 billion for safety regulation and certification, and $0.8 billion for other functions. In addition, the FAA will spend $3.3 billion in 2011 on capital investments in ATC facilities, equipment, and research. Most of the rest of FAA's budget, about $3.4 billion, will go toward grants to state and local governments for airport investments.

Many experts are predicting major problems with U.S. aviation infrastructure in coming years as large demand growth outstrips the capacity of available facilities. In addition to a rising number of airline passengers, the average size of planes has fallen, which increases the number of planes in the sky that the ATC system needs to handle. On the supply side of the aviation equation, the FAA has long had problems with capital funding, high labor costs, and an inability to efficiently implement new technologies. Major changes are needed because the increased air traffic will soon bump up against the limits of the current air traffic control system.

The United States should embrace the types of reforms adopted around the world to privatize airports and commercialize air traffic control services. Investor-owned airports and commercialized ATC companies can better respond to changing market conditions, and they can freely tap debt and equity markets for capital expansion to meet rising demand. Such enterprises also have greater management flexibility to deal with workforce issues and complex technology implementation.

There is vast foreign experience that can be drawn on in pursuing U.S. reforms, such as European airport privatization and Canadian air traffic control commercialization. The next section provides a brief history of federal involvement in airport funding and air traffic control. The subsequent sections describe the global trend toward airport privatization, the brewing crisis in air traffic control, and ways to reform the ATC system.

11 posted on 02/29/2012 8:08:24 AM PST by KeyLargo
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To: OldPossum
I guess it’s where you go...and when.

It may also be who it is who shows you around and what he shows you. If all you see is the room with the scopes, of course it looks like everyone has something to do. But I also spent time in the cafeteria and the TV room. I cannot believe that either of these has been eliminated.

I think that was to reduce the tension, because these men (and a few women) literally had the lives of thousands of air passengers in their hands.

It's pure BS that this is stressful or that the controllers have thousands of lives in their hands, except that they could possibly cause a collision if they wanted to. It does help to know the system from a pilot's point of view and also to be shown it in a trusted way from the controllers point of view as I did and was.

When I first walked into the darkened scope room, it was obvious to me that my visit was not unexpected. One of the guys got up from his scope insanely screaming, "They're gonna collide! They're gonna collide!" It didn't take me long to see that the controllers considered their job a joke. I suppose I could have known that from the chatter my controller IFR instructor engaged in sometimes on the radio while we were flying. It must have just been one big fraternity to him as he seemed to have friends at a number of the facilities we were handled by. (I'm not sure we ever were even handled by his NYARTCC as they only come into play above 7000 feet or something like that.)

My instructor was the senior guy on his team and he had three underlings helping him when he was working the scope. He had a particular sector to work. I think he took handoffs from Cleveland ARTCC of planes flying at altitude, and had to bring the NYC bound ones down to 17,000 feet to handoff to another guy. When he was really working the highest number of planes he was talking to at one time was four. (This was between 6 and 8 PM on a weekday.) But he showed me different views he could see on his scope, so first he didn't eliminate the ones flying lower than his sector. And then he gradually kept increasing the radius of the sector displayed until it eventually was centered on NYC and extended past Boston and Washington. Then there a zillion targets on his screen. That zillion target view is always the one you see on a news feature about air traffic controllers.

It's been a while now since I've flown, but the number of times I had to struggle to get a word in edgewise with the controller who was working me was very low. If you're smart when you fly IFR you pay attention to everything going on on the frequency; and usually it's not hard to do. It's just another clue to the usual workload the controllers experience.


12 posted on 02/29/2012 9:13:19 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj

First, I was not a VIP being shown around. I knew an old Air Force pilot through the Civil Air Patrol and it was he who took me there. BTW, it was not a special entree; this place had regular visiting hours for the public at large (we just had access on “off hours”). So, I don’t think they did anything special for me.

Second, I gathered that this was before there was computerization of a lot of the separations of various flights and I damn well believe that it was a stressful job under those circumstances. You may not. We have our opinions on that.

You must have entered a strange air controller facility if someone was acting crazy and you got the impression that the controllers considered their job a joke. What I saw was a group of people with intense concentration on what they were doing.

I will grant you the real possibility that times have changed, particularly with regard to computers making their jobs quite different from what I saw. That being the case, our experiences differ considerably.

13 posted on 02/29/2012 10:27:21 AM PST by OldPossum (ou)
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To: KeyLargo

Between this crap and TSA gropes, they just might gin up a market for ‘fast rail’ yet...

14 posted on 02/29/2012 10:56:28 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: OldPossum
You must have entered a strange air controller facility if someone was acting crazy and you got the impression that the controllers considered their job a joke.

Yeah. "New York Center" is real strange. "Centers" handle the at-altitude IFR air traffic in this country. There are 22 of them now for the entire country. About NYARTCC, Wikipedia says

New York Center enjoys a unique and interesting history, and was the world's first Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). Collectively, the center owns 3,270,000 square miles (8,500,000 km2) of controllable airspace, and over the years has remained one of the busiest sectors of airspace in the world.
I wonder what impression you would get if you observed a joke/mock crisis obviously staged for your benefit as soon as you walked into the place. (And I doubt that the guys there thought of this just for me.)

I was no VIP. I was a friend. I was treated af if I were "one of the guys." This was in the late 70s. They had computers then.

I did once visit another ATC facility as a stranger. This was the tower at St. Louis (Lambert). There everything seemed businesslike if not extremely busy. I didn't see their cafeteria or TV room, if either existed. But then a "tower" is really a small operation as compared with a "center."


15 posted on 02/29/2012 11:21:03 AM PST by ml/nj
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