Thursday, March 24, 2011

What the . . . now I'm scared

Last night two commercial jets landed at Washington National Airport ON THEIR OWN!! Both tried to contact the tower, but no one answered. Being smart pilots, they decided to circle for a while and contacted regional traffic control operations to see what could be done. They, in turn, tried phoning, radioing and by means of a loud speaker to reach the tower. Nuttin'. Turns out the night shift is covered by ONE person. Granted, there aren't many flights that land at National during the late night hours, but ONE person?! What if he/she had an intestinal disturbance during his/her shift? Who'd cover?? The FAA says it will make sure this situation doesn't happen again. One regional person said that the controller may have locked himself out of the tower -- 'it happens.' Uh, if a person can't remember to take the keys when he leaves his post, what are the chances he's responsible in any other way. Our airport is within 6 miles of the White House. It's a noisy, stinky, pain in the butt for those of us who live in town, but it is convenient. Still, I'd hate to have some plane run out of fuel and ram into someone's house while it's trying to make contact with an air traffic controller. I cannot understand how airport authorities could think a single person on duty was adequate coverage. An extra salary would cost far less than the tragedy and havoc if a plane made a mistake.

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