KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)-- It's not the first time an air traffic controller sleeps on the job. The first incident reported was at the Reagan National Airport in Washington in March, and now, at our very own McGhee Tyson Airport.
Volunteer TV's Pete Michaels has flown all over the US in the past 30 years. He knows just how important the job of an air traffic controller can be.
"It's a very stressful job you have the responsibility of the safety and separation of aircraft, safety of the passengers and pilot," he said. "The air traffic system couldn't survive without controllers; nothing is safe without them."
Safety comes first. That's why the Federal Aviation Administration is taking steps to fire a controller at McGhee Tyson Airport after going to sleep and being "unresponsive" for five hours forcing one other controller to work double-- while safely landing seven planes.
In a statement, the agency said it: "will not tolerate this type of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior."
Becky Huckaby, the spokeswoman at McGhee Tyson, said that based on the information the airport was given no passenger was "compromised." But some passengers say it's still concerning.
"Very concerning. You're up in the air and your life is in teh hands of the pilot and the people giving directions and intruction," said passenger Mark Klett.
Michaels said he has faith in the system despite the incident.
"The FAA will take the appropriate actions and whatever actions they take will be in the best interest of aviation. I'm confident of that," he said.
Because of the two incdients, the FAA said it is conducting a nationwide review of the air traffic control system, including overnight staffing at certain airpots around the country.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Federal Aviation Administration announced it is taking steps to fire an air traffic controller the agency claims was found intentionally sleeping on the job at McGhee Tyson airport.
According to the FAA statement, the air traffic controller was working a midnight shift on February 19, 2011. During the shift, he worked alone in the radar room, while another controller manned the airport control tower.
In its statement, the FAA said it "will not tolerate this typre of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior."
Seven planes landed safely over a five-hour period, all handled the airport control tower controller, who handled both the radar and tower duties after finding the radar controller unresponsive.