Friday, April 22, 2011

"Ground Control to Major ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ..."

...Your eyes are getting heavy...
In what can only be seen as a 30-year-anniversary tribute to Ronald Reagan's firing of those union members in the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Association who had struck over job conditions (less than a year after that union had backed the onetime movie actor's presidential candidacy), air traffic controllers all over the place are falling asleep on the job.  Washington DC, Seattle, and now Reno  - just in this year - have had jets overhead with uh pilots uh trying to uh reach ground control and uh getting no answer.

Flying scares the dickens out of me.  First, you have to worry about getting to the airport something like three days in advance for your flight to Cleveland, and then you are felt up by some cheese-breath security guy named Chad, who also goes through your luggage and goofs on your underwear.  Then you have to worry about a skyjacker. Then you have to worry that the pilot is drunk on his aspirin, and also you have to worry about your meal.  And the landing, and getting your luggage back, and finding a cab in Cleveland, all the while knowing that your underwear is being used as a headdress in some sort of ancient Druid rites, performed by Chad and his tree-worshipping friends.

Now. the poor guy who was in charge of these sleeping beauties is out on his tarmac.  Item:

(Reuters) - The official overseeing air traffic operations resigned over a controversy involving disclosures about sleeping air traffic controllers.
Hank Krakowski, who is director of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization, stepped down amid the revelations, the agency said in a statement.
Krakowski's resignation was accepted by FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, who said he was conducting a full review of air traffic operations.
"Over the last few weeks, we have seen examples of unprofessional conduct on the part of a few individuals that have rightly caused the traveling public to question our ability to ensure their safety," Babbitt said in a statement. "This conduct must stop immediately."
U.S. aviation regulators suspended two air traffic controllers this week for falling asleep on the job, including one who was out of radio contact while a medical flight was trying land.
The latest incident early on Wednesday in Nevada and one on Monday at Boeing Field in Seattle added to concerns about safety prompted by two other controllers found to have slept at work in recent months in Washington, D.C., and Tennessee.

I just have to say, is it really all that important to fly?  We drove to Pensacola in 2004 and had a wonderful time, the whole way down and back.  We saw planes flying overhead but we were on the ground, driving I-95, I-85 and I-65, right through the heart of pancake-and-grit country.  Unlike people a mile up in the air, we got to meet real authentic Americans, many of whom were awake.  I say, get some gas for the family truckster and go go go!

1 comment:

Addie said...

I do not like to fly either, yet twice a month I'm in the air for work! My family and I drive most times to visit family and friends. Recently my brother, mother, sisnlaw and their kids went to Disneyland in FL. The drove the 14 or so hours and had a blast! This summer a colleague is driving the 27 hours to AZ to visit family... I'm with them!