DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A second air traffic controller was on duty early Friday at the Duluth International Airport because of the fallout nationally from controllers caught napping on the job.

Duluth is among 27 airports around the country assigned a second controller during the graveyard shift. No commercial flights are scheduled to depart or arrive overnight, but airport director Brian Ryks says general aviation and corporate planes might use the airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration reviewed the entire air traffic control system after four cases in which controllers were caught snoozing on the job. FAA chief Randy Babbitt then ordered a second controller be added at 27 airports around the country. The Duluth News Tribune says the Fargo, N.D., airport also got a second overnight controller.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. stupid says:

    And what the h*ll are they going to watch, geese?

  2. mark says:

    Well what happens if this guy goes to sleep?

  3. Victim Du Jour says:

    Can’t they figure out a way to make an alarm sound for when a pilot starts communicating with the tower? And also a button the controller has to push every 15 minutes or it goes into alarm? Like pushing a snooze button on an alarm clock.

  4. gtV says:

    It’s about time Duluth gets a second late night controller to watch the North skies. Duluth International [DLH] has one of the longest runways in the region, nearly 10,00 feet; full ATIS, GCA, ILS, VOR-TAC, instrument availabilities for Cat III [0/0] operating conditions; military facilities with a “Hot-Alert” air defense status designator; and emergency capabilities to handle jumbo jets. It’s the big airport safe haven, ever vigilant, in the wide open Northern air sectors that can handle any aviation situation.

    Outside of MSP-ATC center [Farmington], Duluth air traffic controllers handle watch duties covering a vast Northern US airspace area including a good portion of Ontario airspace.

    Air traffic may be slow at late night times in Duluth’s air watch sectors but maintaining airspace due diligence air control is vital for US national defense and aviation safety concerns. Two air traffic controllers in Duluth’s air sectors are vital for the state and country defense and air safety.

    As an air traveler and former pilot knowing Duluth has two air controllers watching out for those sectors of US and Canadian airspace as well as capabilities to handle any air exigencies that may come DLH’s way I will feel comfortable being in this Northern airspace.

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