It’s “Just My Opinion” but I wonder if Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and the FAA really have the welfare of passengers in mind. After recent incidents involving air traffic controllers found asleep while on duty several were fired and the FAA and LaHood added an hour of “off” time for the controllers.  Instead of eight off-hours the controllers would be guaranteed nine hour off between shifts!  That gives a person nine hours to drive home, be part of a family, sleep, eat and then return to work.  Generally the rest of the working population has at least sixteen hours off between shifts.  Admittedly air traffic controllers are well compensated so they might be expected to pull a heavier load but with public safety in mind it seems to me more controllers should be hired and shifts arranged so more down time would be possible.

Since 1993 there have been 14 aviation accidents with 163 fatalities in which pilot fatigue was cited as the cause or a contributing factor.  When the FAA proposed new limits on schedules and allowance for pilots to sleep while the plane was at cruising altitude it went against it’s own recommendations and will not allow pilots to sleep in flight even if a co-pilot was flying the airplane.

So we have overworked air traffic controllers directing traffic at airports where sleepy, over scheduled pilots are landing and taking off with hundreds of passengers in their care.  It’s “Just My Opinion” but I think the FAA and Ray LaHood should reconsider both decisions for the safety of the flying public.

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