Controller Vigilance, Training, Fatigue at Issue

 - April 12, 2007, 11:14 AM

The NTSB issued a series of recommendations this week asking the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to tighten regulations and procedures pertaining to controller vigilance, training and fatigue. The recommendations are based on several recent operational errors, incidents and accidents, including the fatal crash of a CRJ100 after trying to take off from the wrong runway at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky., last August 27. According to the Safety Board, the ongoing investigation into this accident has presented a “complex scenario in which to evaluate the extent to which various factors may have influenced controller actions.” Among the recommendations: require all controllers to complete “instructor-led” training in resource management skills that will “improve controller judgment, vigilance and safety awareness”; revise controller work schedules to provide rest periods “long enough for controllers to obtain sufficient restorative sleep”; modify shift rotations to “minimize disrupted sleep patterns”; and develop a “fatigue awareness and countermeasures training program.”