The US National Transportation Safety Board recommends that the Federal Aviation Administration:

  • Work with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association to reduce the potential for controller fatigue by revising work-scheduling policies to provide rest periods long enough to obtain restorative sleep
  • modify shift rotations to minimise disrupted sleep patterns, accumulation of sleep debt, and decreased cognitive performance
  • develop a fatigue awareness and countermeasures training programme for controllers and for personnel who are involved in the scheduling of controllers for operational duty.

In addition, the NTSB recommends the FAA require all ATC officers to complete initial and recurrent training in team resource management skills "that will improve judgement, vigilance, and safety awareness". It points out that the one air traffic controller in the Blue Grass tower when the Comair accident occurred could see the hold-short areas for both runways when he passed the CRJ100 its take-off clearance, which he did before the aircraft had passed the end of 22 on the way to 26. But after completing the hand-off of a previous departure, the controller said he turned to face a centre console to count flight progress strips for aircraft he had handled to record hourly traffic counts, says the NTSB.

Source: Flight International