Air traffic controller watched movie while on duty: FAA

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 19, 2011 12:03 PM
Air traffic controller watched movie while on duty: FAA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Ohio air traffic controller and his manager have been suspended after the controller was found to be watching a movie while on duty, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement late on Monday.

The suspension came on the first day of a multi-city tour by FAA officials to discuss new regulations on rest, scheduling and professionalism with controllers.

The national tour itself was a response to several separate incidents that have alarmed regulators and safety advocates in recent weeks, including a lone controller at Washington's Reagan National Airport falling asleep on March 23 with two jetliners en route.

The suspended controller from the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center had inadvertently filled the airwaves with the soundtrack of the movie he was watching for more than three minutes on Sunday.

During that time, pilots could not communicate with the tower. The pilot of a military aircraft used an alternative frequency to notify air traffic control of the problem.

The FAA statement said that portable DVD players and other devices are not allowed to be used on the floor of the radar room.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)