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FAA Adds Second Controller To Night Shift At Reagan Airport

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The FAA has ordered that a second air traffic controller be on duty on the overnight shifts at Reagan National Airport.
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The FAA has ordered that a second air traffic controller be on duty on the overnight shifts at Reagan National Airport.

Pilots of two airliners tried calling Reagan's control tower by radio several times to get clearance to land as they approached the D.C. area on March 23. Neither one could reach the supervising controller and were forced to land without his assistance. They did get in touch with a regional control facility and were able to land safely.

The controller at Reagan National later acknowledged he had fallen asleep. Similar incidents of controllers sleeping on duty have sparked the Federal Aviation Administration to take action. It's now adding a second controller to night shifts at 26 airports across the country, including Reagan.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement on the policy change hours after a medical flight was forced to land at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada without assistance after a control operator there nodded off on duty Wednesday.

The federal official in charge of all the country's air traffic controllers has also resigned in the wake of the Nevada incident, reports Politico. Air Traffic Organization chief operating officer Hank Krakowski resigned on Thursday.

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