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Thread: Tower this is 18LJ...TOWER THIS IS 18LJ...HEY WAKE-UP TOWER!

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    cubflier's Avatar
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    Tower this is 18LJ...TOWER THIS IS 18LJ...HEY WAKE-UP TOWER!

    Just read this article this morning. Seems odd that naps are allowed on duty. Admittedly, I've never met a controller that couldn't talk twice as fast as I could think, but still seems kind of odd allow naps in the tower.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,212898,00.html

    Jerry
    If it looks smooth...it might be

    If it looks rough...it is!!

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    Re: Tower this is 18LJ...TOWER THIS IS 18LJ...HEY WAKE-UP TO

    Quote Originally Posted by cubflier
    Seems odd that naps are allowed on duty.
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,212898,00.html
    That would be odd indeed. The article is about naps on their breaktime, however.

    Hank

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    cubchick's Avatar
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    What are the average amount of hours for one shift for a controller? Just playing devil's advocate, but aren't hospital physicians allowed to take cat naps? And I suppose they wake up fresh and ready to do emergency surgery?

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    cubflier's Avatar
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    Re: Tower this is 18LJ...TOWER THIS IS 18LJ...HEY WAKE-UP TO

    Quote Originally Posted by hankster
    Quote Originally Posted by cubflier
    Seems odd that naps are allowed on duty.
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,212898,00.html
    That would be odd indeed. The article is about naps on their breaktime, however.

    Hank
    Hank

    Thanks for fixing my error, but this does not change my point. It seems odd that they are allowed to nap on "break". The FAA agrees and is enforcing it's regulation over union contracts. I can think of many professions where napping on break is not good policy. Think of a staff in the emergency room at a hospital. Who knows maybe they nap too.

    Maybe there is good reason to have controllers sleeping on break time but my limited opinion says not a good idea.


    Do you have an opinion on this matter?

    Jerry
    If it looks smooth...it might be

    If it looks rough...it is!!

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    Student Pilot's Avatar
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    I don't know what it's like now but in Australia a few years ago on crew airliners were allowed "cat naps". It wasn't a thing the public knew and I don't know if it's just this country or a world wide thing.

    When I heard about it, it was just after a major pilot strike in this country and the federal government ordered the military to fly routes. The federal government then OK'd cheap overseas labour to be employed with piloting duties. The catnap thing might have been a deal with the aviaiton authority and a hiring provision so crew could fly longer hours.

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    I believe that flight crew naps are allowed for transocean flights now by many airlines. I think it's an airline policy, not by government regs.

    At McKinney, Texas, the tower controller is on-duty in 30 minute shifts. There are 2 guys in the tower most of the time, especially during daylight hours, but sometimes only one controller on off times. When 2 are present, you can set your watch by when the voice changes over the radio.

    Usually, the one controller runs both tower and ground control, unless they get really busy. It's rather rare that that happens -- maybe once or twice on the weekends when all the Sunday flyers come out. On those occasions, the guy on break from the tower position runs the ground control positon.

    McKinney Tower is not a high stress controller position, however.

    I've had tours of both the Fort Worth ARTCC and DFW Tracon through a program that the FAA calls Operation Raincheck. There, the controllers work in pairs -- one controller working the radar and aircraft communications, and the second working the traffic strips and coordination with other sectors. I don't know the timing of the controller breaks there.

    cubflier, I don't really know enough about how they run the operation to have an opinion. If the breaks are 20 minutes or so in duration, that's hardly enough time for a nap to be of use. On the other hand, if they an hour break after 4 hours on a radar, then a nap might be beneficial to controller alertness. I don't know enough about it.

    I see that the NATCA (controller union) is complaining that their new contract will result in more fatigued controllers.
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,211803,00.html

    Hank

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    I wouldnt read to much into this. Typical FAA propaganda BS. The last contract said no sleeping also so its nothing new. I was briefed last year and had to sign that I was briefed that no sleeping was allowed at work period. If caught sleeping it would result in 10 days LWOP or termination period. Pretty black and white to me. If it was allowed at some facilities it was because management over looked it or approved it..

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    Maybe there is good reason to have controllers sleeping on break time but my limited opinion says not a good idea.
    Here's a decent reason. This is from a Center Controller, addressing the lack of sleep the controller had at LEX tower during the Comair crash:

    As to the two hours of sleep. That is pretty normal. I just got off a midshift and I got three hours sleep prior to the mid. That is normal!! We get off work at 1430 and head home. For me that is a 30 minute drive. I run and do a few errands and then come home and pound on the comuter for an hour or so. By the time I do all of this and chat with the wife it is close to 1730. I start prepairing for bed... By the time I get to sleep it is about 1800. If there are kids playing outside, chances are I may not be able to get to sleep for a while due to the noise. But if conditions are good, I will get a max of three hours of sleep before the midnight shift. For 24 hour facilities we work normally a two evening, two days and a midnight shift. That gives us two back to back shifts in the week where you have either nine or eight hours between shifts. Guess what, between the commute, having to get things done around the house, and then showering and getting ready, that at best leaves you with six hours of sleep time available, normally five where you are sleeping at night. It is hell on your body, and if you want to do this job in the US, get used to it...
    I don't know the timing of the controller breaks there.
    Controllers normally work 2 hours on one position, then get a break.

    Thomas
    Aspiring Air Traffic Controller

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    kase's Avatar
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    Controllers normally work 2 hours on one position, then get a break.
    Thats under the old contract. Now their not required any breaks.

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    55-PA18A's Avatar
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    Several years ago I attended a pilot safety seminar where one of the invited speakers was an officer from the US Air Force who was involved in research on crew fatigue. I don't remember all the specifics, but she said there was a demonstrated improvement in cognitive ability and crew function as a result of napping. Sometimes these naps were of short duration, but the important part was their timing during the work period. She referred to this as "strategic napping". I kind of liked that term. Sort of like my Sunday afternoon "power nap".

    Jim

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    tgarrison's Avatar
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    Thats under the old contract. Now their not required any breaks.
    Not much of a contract. More like imposed work rules.

    Thomas

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    S2D's Avatar
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    5-10 minute naps do wonders during spray season. Preferrably not while ferrying to the field though.
    Can't imagine why it would be any different in any other high stress job.
    I may be wrong but that probably won't stop me from arguing about it.

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    S2D - There isn't any difference. There is a reason that many emergency rooms there is a "physicians rest area" where a cot is provided. Lee Iococa used to be rather well known for his "power napping" throughout the day. Had three secretaries to keep up with him as he tended to work long hours with naps to make up for it. Quite a bit of research has shown that napping will positively effect the following: Reaction time, Judgment, Vision, Information processing, Short-term memory, Performance, Motivation, Vigilance, Patience. This is based on a "power nap" of no more than 20min. A longer nap can have a negative effect. Napping has real negative conotations in our part of the world but in many other countries it is just part of life. Have worked for employers in the "high tech" world that provided a break area complete with cots, hammocks etc. with the expectation that due to long hours they should be used. Makes a world of difference when trying to hit a production schedule. Many more traditional managers have a real difficult time with the idea though. Probably a big factor in this decision.

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    Student Pilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S2D
    5-10 minute naps do wonders during spray season. Preferrably not while ferrying to the field though.
    Can't imagine why it would be any different in any other high stress job.

    So what sort of hours do you do in a season and how long is you season S2?

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