FAA, which runs Vienna air traffic tower, aims to give sleepy controllers rest

VIENNA, Ohio (WYTV) – A study released by the Federal Aviation Administration Monday relating to air traffic controller fatigue, is raising eyebrows across the country, but the F.A.A. says they’ve worked to fix the problem. The air traffic control tower for the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport is run by the FAA, meaning they’re in charge of scheduling. “They have total jurisdiction over the hours that are worked…by their controllers,” Western Reserve Port Authority Aviation Director Dan Dickten said. “They set that schedule.” According to the YNG NATCA’s website, which was last updated in January of 2012, a normal controller work schedule is a week of nights, followed by a week of days ending on a midnight shift, with days off rotating backwards every three weeks. When WYTV called the tower to see if that was still the case, no one was able to confirm it for us. But Dickten said those air traffic controllers work in a three-shift operation. The Federal Aviation Administration has also released a fact sheet outlining how they have worked to fix the problem of tired air traffic controllers. That includes changing scheduling practices by requiring nine hours off duty where a day shift follows an evening shift, restricting consecutive midnight shifts, the number of 10-hour midnight shifts and the start time of early-morning day shifts that come before a midnight shift to allow for night-time sleep opportunities.


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