2 planes landed at Reagan National Airport on their own, as control tower supervisor possibly fell asleep

By on Mar 24, 2011 in Lifestyle, Travel, United States, Weird Comments

Updated: March 25, 2011 5:51 p.m.

Read Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport air traffic controller suspended for sleeping on duty

Two passenger planes landed at the Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington on their own on Wednesday morning, March 24, 2011, as an unnamed aviation personnel told reports the control tower supervisor fell asleep.

Ronald Reagan National Airport
control tower

Image Credit: CPNpnationalAirport.com

According to US news sites on Thursday, an American Airlines Being 737 plane flying in from Miami having 97 passengers called the control tower of the said airport at around 12:10 a.m. (US time) on Wednesday.

Apparently, the plane pilot called the tower to get clearance to land but received no response, and later decided to land and made it successfully.

About 15 minutes later, a United Airlines Airbus 320 which flew from Chicago and carrying 68 passengers also shared the same experience, which also landed safely.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that the silence from the control tower lasted for about one hour, as communication resumed when the third plane landed.

“All we know is the controller was unresponsive and we want to know why.” National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesman Peter Knudson told reports, who did not comment about reports that the tower controller had may have fallen asleep.

Nevertheless, US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood later told the news about a new rule for implementation regarding the incident.

“Today I directed the FAA to place two air traffic controllers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s control tower on the midnight shift,” LaHood was quoted in a released statement on Wednesday night.

“It is not acceptable to have just one controller in the tower managing air traffic in this critical air space.” He added.

Meanwhile, FAA officials said the case is now under deeper investigation, and will review further the recorded calling made by the pilots of the affected airplanes.

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