This is not a good week to be an air-traffic controller. The Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday it has fired two air-traffic controllers for sleeping on duty. One worked in Knoxville, Tennessee, while the other worked in Miami; the FAA declined to name them. A rash of sleeping controllers has been reported lately, with incidents also in Washington, Seattle, and Reno, Nevada, and two suspected cases in Lubbock, Texas. All of these incidents occurred during the midnight shift and most occurred at local control towers. Most of the sleeping appeared to be accidental, although the FAA said that at least one controller deliberately went to sleep. On Saturday, the FAA announced new rules that require controllers to have a minimum of nine hours off between shifts and ended solo midnight shifts.
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