Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pardon Me While I Yawn ...

Yeah, yeah, I know it's been a little while since I've posted. I've been keeping a low profile; trying to stay under the radar, so to speak. With all of the negative press about sleeping air traffic controllers, I thought that would be the best course of action.

Unfortunately, the way things are going, I'd have to stay hidden from public view for the unforeseeable future.  I have to say that ATC is a pretty good gig but for the first time in nearly 20 years I'm a little bit embarrassed by the actions of a few of my fellow ATCers.

And even more embarrassed by the chest puffing, do-nothing-about-the-problem FAA and Transportation Secretary LaHood.  So far, the only thing that the FAA has done is make up a bunch nonsense rules for everybody that hasn't had a problem to follow. Of course, they haven't been given much choice by some of my fellow controllers. Really, guys? Beds? Pillows? Sleeping when there are airplanes to tend to? Coming to work with the idea that you get to sleep?

Nobody knows more than me just how hard staying awake with nothing to do can be.  If you've been following Out Of My Hat for very long, you'll remember my annual Maintenance Wakefulness Test (MWT) that I get to take again next month and my experiences from the past.

We all know the rules--just play along.  We also know that the one thing that most of our supervisors hate to do is ... well, their job. So just don't give them an excuse for having to do it! --just play along.  On most offenses that are subject to disciplinary action, we have nothing to fear because none of them are willing to go through the proper documentation, notification or procedures that they have determined are necessary.  They may try to blame it on the Union, but the truth is the Union just holds them to the procedures that they say are necessary for discipline or removal.

For a first time removable're pretty much hosed and there isn't much that anybody can do to help you.

Let's be honest with each other, the FAA isn't going to do anything that will make working crap hours with no rest and little to do any easier. They are not going to make meaningful changes to allow for more rest. And they are never going to make safety more important than politics.  As long as the FAA is charged with the dual role of regulating aviation and promoting the safety of the industry to flying public, it will be corrupt.

Safety was never compromised!

The foxes that guard the chicken coop are always going to tell you that the hens are perfectly safe! If a hen is killed; don't worry, they'll add another fox as a guard and promote the supervisor that was on duty!

Maybe we should all have to take the stupid MWT.  The irony of sleep apnea is that if you don't get it diagnosed, you get to keep working (you may be tired, but you're working). Once you have the diagnosis and are being treated, they pull your medical certification and require you to jump through the hoops to keep your job. It makes perfect sense when you look at it through the filter of government bureaucracy.



Bilbo said...

I've been following your adventures as an ATC, and have my own issues with sleep apnea, so I understand where you're coming from. All I will say is this: we plan to fly to Dayton next month, and to Germany in August/September. I'll let you know the exact dates so you can get plenty of sleep in advance. Good luck with the bureaucracy...

vw: fordeflu - why you get shots in the fall.

David Stone said...

Funny indeed John! Funny "ha ha" as well as Funny "ironic."

Thanks for coming out of your long winter's nap to share your take on the current ATC issues!

Mike said...

Out of all the press I've seen, just one time did they show a guy saying that it's not good to self report medical problems. And then no one picked up it or did any follow up.