Nightly News | April 14, 2011
>> good evening, we have now told you about five instances of air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job during their shift in the tower. over the past few weeks alope. in some cases while aircraft circled, waiting to land, and then landed anyway. tonight, the consequences. a big head has rolled, and more changes are coming. the faa has already ordered that no tower should have just one controller anymore, and snow they're sending more out into the field. and just today, the head of the faa 's air traffic control operations is out of a job. tonight, we begin with tom costello at reagan national airport in washington where one of the controllers was found sleeping just three weeks ago. good evening.
>> reporter: good evening to you. sources say thed of the faa air traffic control operations had lost the confidence of senior government leaders. alt least six individuals are accused of sleeping on the joberjob, behavior the faa says must end immediately. after three weeks of reports of controllers alidgedly sleeping on the job , the man who ran the air traffic control operation, hank crucowsky today lost his job.
>> what happened ing the control towers with controllers sleeping is outrageous. it's the kind of behavior we will not tolerate at the faa .
>> reporter: it all started last month when two passenger planes had to land on their own add at ragen national airport as a controller slept. rand rand y babbit was furious.
>> as a former pilot, i'm outraged.
>> sense then, more cases rng in knoxville, in lubbock, outside of seattle, and yesterday's case of a medevac plane unable to wake a controller in reno.
>> we have a sick patient. we may just have to land.
>> reporter: after circling for 16 minutes, he did land on his own. safety controllers and leaders say they're constantly changing schedules and are fatigued on the job. they have hardly enough time to decompress and sleep. now the faa and the union say it may be time for a change .
>> we're going to work together claberately to look at schedules to mitigate fatigue.
>> this comeses as investigators look at the 737 that made an emergency lanning this month with a hole in its roof and a 90 jet that sidesweptd a building at jfk, but today, they assure us the skies are safe.
>> i believe we have the safest aviation system in the wurblgd but we can always make improvements.
>> reporter: 9 million takeoffs and landings each year, and the last deadly accident involving a commercial airliner was more than two years ago. beginning monday, faa chief and union president will be going to towers around the country, re-enforcing the message of what is expected in the tower.