When authorities found 50-year-old air marshal controller Philip Maschek from Arkansas “passed out in his chair with his shirt off” at 7:45 a.m. Thursday morning, it was clear that this man was not cut out to be controlling any air traffic.
Awareness dawned that something was amiss Thursday at Springdale Municipal Airport in Arkansas when a pilot received no response from the tower to repeated requests for clearance to taxi. When police officers arrived at the scene, the controller, Philip Maschek, was squatting in front of a small refrigerator, swaying back and forth as he drank from a water bottle.
This led to Maschek’s arrest for public intoxication. However, Maschek claimed that he was not intoxicated and refused to take a sobriety test despite his state.
Maschek, clearly intoxicated, was “slurring his speech, swaying on his feet, struggling to follow directions and balancing," according to the report. Police were worried Maschek was too intoxicated to climb down a steep ladder to leave the tower and didn't immediately handcuff him, according to a report.
In all of the 20 years that Mascheck has worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), he has never been addressed as problematic, this being the first major problem he's caused for the FAA.
This being said, with the tower operating room that Mascheck was occupying being defined as “highly sensitive” and a “safety-oriented position,” how was it that this was able to happen?
Like any job, air traffic control specialists require an extensive amount of training, including passing a medical examination and security investigation.
The FAA is currently investigating what happened further and Mascheck has officially resigned from his position as air controller and will not be returning to work.