In Defense Of Shiftworkers

The FAA has been getting hammered this last few weeks for their Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) snoozing or being otherwise distracted on the night shifts. Seemingly daily another story surfaces concerning this problem. Issues like this of course grab headlines and the media hypes it, such that the average person sees it as an epic problem and we’re all gonna die, right? Wrong. But once it starts, any rational viewpoints fly out the window and idiots are instant ‘experts’. (Japan Earthquake-Nuclear Armageddon anyone?)

Here’s an asshole that only ever did a night shift sucking on a keg in his dorm. But that didn’t stop him from doing a hit-piece editorial on the issue. Was Sleepy of Seven Dwarfs Fame An Air Traffic Controller?

Note to the online editorial staff at the Manteca Bulletin: Check your style manual for Headline Caps rules. I corrected it on the link above. –Maybe they were sleeping on the job?

I really, REALLY see red having someone totally ignorant on a given issue coming off like this guy, Dennis Wyatt does in the article. But then again, when did having nary a clue about something ever stop left-coast liberals from proclaiming self-expertise?

Prior to these last few years, I’ve done some form of shift work my entire working lifetime. I also took part in a long-term study of the effects of shift work on humans, so I think I can speak with some authority on this issue.

The bottom line is that human beings are not physiologically wired for shift work. Period. Full-Stop. The study of Circadian Rhythms and Sleep Disorders proves this beyond any doubt. There is no such thing as being fully acclimated and alert working at 3 a.m. The industrial revolution and moving away from an agrarian society brought about 24 hour-a-day activity, it was thought that having the lights-on were all that was required to have workers perform as they would during the day. Historically, people were assigned to evening and night work without any consideration about how the shifts would affect their performance. Eventually, some consideration was given to shift work, especially rotating shift work and things such as rotation schedules were devised, but nothing can change a system that relies on flesh and blood to overcome inherent biological weaknesses. It just doesn’t work 100% of the time.

The problem for the most part is the government and industry mind-set that night work is the same as days, just a difference in what the clock reads. I was in the nuclear electric business and as you know, it’s regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. There was a major industry shakeup in 1987 when an operator at the Peach Bottom station was caught sleeping in the control room. The investigation determined that having one man snoozing at a given time routinely occurred and was an unstated, yet accepted practice. Learning this the NRC teed-off on the station and the industry. Unfortunately, the feds don’t take into account the extra operators on-shift, over and above the regulatory minimums.  Everybody is on-duty (even if they’re extra) and absolutely no sleeping/dozing/napping allowed. Moreover in the control rooms, radios, televisions, non-plant related reading material or even lousy muzak are banned. If you can think of something to help keep you awake on nights, it’s verboten, being considered a ‘distraction’.

In the wake of this incident the industry went through a torturous series of audits, reviews, re-training and at my station we brought in a team of Circadian Rhythm docs, to observe and make recommendations.

What would you think the biggest recommendation was? One that was totally unacceptable to the feds, the union and the company. Allowing one operator at a time to have a snooze break for about an hour. The concern with snoozes is that one might be groggy when waking up after the break. Bullshit. If I accept this, then sleeping prior to day shift work would be out too, I’m certainly groggy waking up at 6 a.m. or so, for a 7 a.m. shift. The idea of a nap-break touches on the ancient business paradigm that we’re damn well not paying anyone, anywhere to sleep on the job. So no real changes to how we deal with that night shift occurred, the union wouldn’t consider changing the shift rotations and the company of course, refused to institute a reasonable policy on rest-breaks. I can tell you, that during what we called “The Bone Zone” from 3-5 a.m. the urge to close your eyes is absolutely overwhelming. Even a 15-minute nap in the ‘zone’ would be immensely refreshing, but nooooo ! Personally, I see a vast difference between napping and sleeping. A nap is sitting in a chair, leaning back and closing your eyes for a bit. Sleeping is assuming the recumbent position, with a nice pillow and going all-the-way off to dreamland.

Considering this issue it’s important to understand that a nuclear plant has multiple, redundant systems. Thousands of parameters are monitored by instrumentation and pretty much any given abnormality will result in a number of alarms being audibly and visually produced, as well as automatic safety actions taking place. The machine is a LOT quicker to detect these than any human, regardless of their alertness, could ever hope to be. So in our case, having one operator away from the board results in an infinitesimal reduction in safety. The improved safety from letting an operator have a short nap, easily outweighs the reduction in safety on the other side of the equation.

This takes us to the FAA and the poor bastiches currently getting dog-piled.  Our friend, Wyatt up there, got his panties in a wad over one of the latest “incidents” where a controller brought and watched a DVD on the night shift. The ATCs, much like nuclear plant operators have safety critical jobs. Alertness actually on the job (as opposed to additional staff on-shift) is tremendously important with many lives on the line and like the nukes, they do have technological assistance to the human worker. The need for complete alertness is not in dispute, but the real question is how we go about ensuring they are alert? Would you rather have a controller alert and enjoying a movie or nodding-off? Does it make more sense to allow controllers to have short naps on the night shifts, away from the scope, than demanding they stay awake in the face of biological urges?   Wyatt seems to think the size of the paycheck should allow one to overcome biological facts. Of course in his case, I suspect he’s envious of those checks, compared to small town hack reporter’s salaries and using it to feel better by slamming the ATCs.

Yes, there is quite a bit that can be done to somewhat help the night shift attentiveness issue such as proper schedule rotations, diet, exercise etc. but they are only minor aids. As a veteran rotating shift worker, I can say that the only realistic way to keep alert for an entire night shift is to be able to have a cat-nap at sometime during the shift. Facilities with extra manpower could allow a rotation for rest breaks and for one-man facilities a floating extra could perform this function easily.

It’s high-time we stop this ridiculous expectation and demand that shift workers completely overcome physiology and be 100% alert on those long nights. They are human beings, not machines and the feds (as well as unions) need to be accept this and take an honest, realistic approach to the situation. Of course, some folks will always take advantage of that night shift with little or no supervision around, but to cast them all as derelict is wrong.

Stop the madness, let’s start looking at these guys as humans just working for a living, doing a tough job.

-Carry On

41 comments

  1. 1
    wyseguy growls and barks:

    As someone who has never done shift work, I certainly appreciate the insights provided here. If catching a cat nap for 15 minutes or so, or actually laying down for an hour is unacceptable, would getting up and moving around for 10 minutes or so help? By this, I mean actually getting up and leaving the location where you usually work to go outside for a breath or two of night air or if something like that in unacceptable some mindless busywork (collecting some paperwork from the other operators and dropping it off at an administrative office). Just enough to get the person up and moving and to break up the monotony that I assume can be rather relentless in the wee hours of the morning.

  2. 2
    LC Jackboot IC/A growls and barks:

    wyseguy says:

    By this, I mean actually getting up and leaving the location where you usually work to go outside for a breath or two of night air

    Absolutely that helps. It’s the one thing we could do at the station to help wake-up. For the most part it helped, but one day of lousy sleep, and that’s not uncommon, and as soon as you sit back down, that urge slams you. In the case of the ATCs they can’t even leave their seats for a plant tour like we did. They really need that person to come in and give them a break from the scopes.

  3. 3
    Cricket growls and barks:

    You know, even the trucking industry has HOS ‘rules.’ in the FMCSR. I would FAR rather an extra get a power nap on duty and be alert for his/her shift than to fight their fatigue just when they need to be most alert. I agree with that. The problem is, though, while the trucking industry does not fall under federal enforcement, when a trucking accident happens, if the driver is not distracted by gadgetry or under the influence, they are tired. As in sleepy and sleeping. The feds can’t touch them except through their logbooks, and we all know how accurate they are.

    I truly think that letting someone get some badly needed sleep helps keep them awake.

  4. 4
    Cricket growls and barks:

    Okay…here is something I would like to add regarding Misha’s point about the ATCs and NRCs: They do a dangerous job, and they literally have millions of lives on the line. If you look at their safety record, it is stellar. No crashes have been attributed to ATCs or the lack thereof, so if someone knows different, let me know. I think we can say the same about the staff of a nuclear power plant. While I think their dedication to their jobs has led to this outstanding record, and adhering to a standard on their own (as in no one is watching them), I also think letting them take a nap isn’t going to negatively impact that safety record.

  5. 5
    LC Jackboot IC/A growls and barks:

    Cricket says:

    Okay…here is something I would like to add regarding Misha’s point about the ATCs and NRCs: They do a dangerous job,

    Good Point, however check the byline…… :em95:

  6. 6
    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    wyseguy says:

    would getting up and moving around for 10 minutes or so help? By this, I mean actually getting up and leaving the location where you usually work to go outside for a breath or two of night air

    I would say no. I monitor an oil and gas sight and my duties require me to be moving, outdoors for about 5 minutes every hour. That stretch from 3 to 5 AM is just a killer.

    I worked straight graveyard at a hospital for 3 years…4/10s and I’m a vampire, but 3 to 5AM, even the most obnoxious patient is asleep. Keeping focused during that period is a real test as the world around you seems to just stop.

    The oil company I work for now had what they called a line shift schedule when I started there. 8 hours, rotating with: 4 daylights (5AM to 1PM), 2 days off, 5 graveyard (9PM to 5 AM), 4 days off, 4 afternoon (1 PM to 9PM) with 3 days off…repeat.

    This was a sked that was designed by some Physician and Psychiatrist to be optimal to cover 24 hours.

    It was HELL!!!! My body never knew when to sleep, so I either couldn’t sleep at all, or all I wanted to do was just curl up and sleep.

    I now work rotating 4/12s (7 to 7). 4 nights with 4 days off, then 4 nights and what works out to be (if you scrimp a bit on one of the ends) 5 days off. I like it a lot better, but slow nights can still be rough.

    My Foreman constantly threatens to pull the TV and or computer out of the office. If that happens, I’ll bring books and get that primo laptop with wireless that I’ve been thinking about getting anyway for night shift.

    The new regulation of a minimum of 9 hours off between shifts for the ATCs is still BS. If you add up a minimum of 1 hour commute time (1/2 hour each way) and add in the time to decompress on one end and then wake up and get yourself together for the next shift (another hour???), you still only get, maybe, 7 hours sleep…NO grocery shopping or dealing with family during your work week!!!

  7. 7
    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    LC Jackboot IC/A says:

    Good Point, however check the byline…… :em95:

    Y’all look/sound the same. :em93:

  8. 8
    Library Czar growls and barks:

    I worked nights for 14 years. As a true night person I saw all sorts of others who just could not make it through the 3 AM to 5 AM time period. At those hours I am wide awake and ready to go however just try to get me to be alert at 8 AM. In my profession we were not allowed to nap however we routinely allowed each other to lie down and take an hour or half hour nap.

  9. 9
    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    Library Czar says:

    It was my understanding that there was only one worker in these control towers at night. Why not two?

    If I’ve understood the scenario of these problems, is that there are only an occasional landing taking place during these hours. One person is underwhelmed with this work load, but, they have to be there for that outlier.

    The first 3 or 4 hours of the shift are probably the worst you could think of, being everyone is trying to land at a prime hour and before any noise curfews kick in…then it’s not much of anything, unless it’s an emergency or something special, and then right before end of shift, it’s time to wake up the airport and get all those business commuters on their way.

    The mandate that “NO ONE WILL SLEEP ON ANY SHIFT!!!” is a bit much. With this 24/7 world we live in, maybe they could go to 6 hour shifts for 7 days, then 7 days off (you do the math, I’m too lazy) and keep the shift consistent for 6 months or a year so you can acclimate. Average shift differentials into base pay, so you lose that bitch. It would require one extra shift per day, but I beleive anyone can stay awake for 6 hours, plus that’s more time off to get that needed sleep each day.

  10. 10
    Grammar Czar growls and barks:

    We now have NASA in charge of global warming, since we eliminated the space program. Since we are funding them anyway, why not task them with designing some sort of sooper dooper computer system to help land planes, with only minimal assistance from a controller.

    Good grief. Computers pretty much got us to the moon and back several times, but they land a plane?

  11. 11
    Grammar Czar growls and barks:

    Sorry…that should say, but they can’t land a plane…

  12. 12
    LC MuscleDaddy growls and barks:

    OT, but I tripped over this site and have to know someone else is pissed off too…

    You’re welcome.

    – MD

  13. 13
    LC Jackboot IC/A growls and barks:

    DJ Allyn, ITW says:

    It was my understanding that there was only one worker in these control towers at night. Why not two?

    Really good comments going here. DJ-EXACTLY ! The FAA has a lot of one-man overnight assignments. Aside from financial, and since when did a federal agency care, there is no reason why they don’t have a relief controller scheduled.

    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. says:

    Average shift differentials into base pay, so you lose that bitch. It would require one extra shift per day, but I beleive anyone can stay awake for 6 hours, plus that’s more time off to get that needed sleep each day.

    Well their union has an interest in maximizing OT and shift-differentials, so some of the blame here can be laid square on their feet too. In my past, we had 2 big-time union guys on the hourly operations staff. We held a vote to go with the progressive shift-rotation schedule and it passed overwhelmingly. In spite of it, the union idiots nixed the idea as it had to have their approval too.

  14. 14
    LC ShadowFox growls and barks:

    Let’s put Gitmo detainees on the Dupont Shift Schedule and see how it would take groups to call it torture. For the first time they’d be right!

  15. 15
    Grammar Czar growls and barks:

    viscous animal,

    Viscous animal? It’s fluid?

    Just because you CAN have a blog, doesn’t mean you SHOULD (especially if you don’t know the difference between viscous and vicious.

  16. 16
    LC Draco growls and barks:

    Czar…

    The memory of the computers that put man on the moon.

    The computers that formed the basis of the Apollo Guidance and Navigation System (AGS) were at the bleeding edge of technology in the 1960s. They were the first to use the integrated circuit technology that subsequently gave us desktop computers and so many of the consumer electronic products that fill our lives today. One computer sat in the Command Module, another in the Lunar Module, just above the hatch that astronauts used to get onto the lunar surface.

    Each computer had two types of memory, erasable (RAM) and fixed (ROM). The fixed memory contained the programs, constants and landmark coordinates using 36,864 terms or words, each of 15 bits length. That came to a grand total of 74 kilobytes of memory. The erasable memory, which was used to store variable data used in calculations or as registers for logic operations, had only 2,048 15-bit terms.(Emphasis added..LC Draco)

    Just remember when people say the space program isn’t worth it….just bitch spal them!! :em95:

  17. 17
    LC Draco growls and barks:

    Response to LC Draco @:

    I meant BITCH SLAP!!!

  18. 18
    LC Ogrrre growls and barks:

    Jackboot, I don’t know about now, but in the old PATCO days, an eight hour shift for an ATC was 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 2 hours on, 2 hours off. If that is/was true, then the ATC needs to nap, snooze, whatever, during the 2 hours he is off. IF that schedule was true, and still holds, there is no legitimate reason on the face of the earth, including circadian rhythms, why an ATC would be sleeping while he/she was on the scope.

  19. 19
    AyUaxe growls and barks:

    Response to LC Ogrrre @:
    I think Ogrrre is on the right track–it’s a problem of managing personnel and individual performance more than some institutional problem of fundamental incompatibility with human circadian rhythms. Our society has become horrifically slack on objective performance, in favor of a bunch of warm and fuzzy BS–this, incompetent public servants, employees (who virtually can’t be fired, b/c of their “entitlements”) and failing infrastructure everywhere are the results.

    Also, another perspective–we’re not all wired for day work either. I, for one, am naturally nocturnal. It’s a major struggle to get to sleep before dawn, wake up in the morning and get alert and productive on “everyone else’s schedule”. I do it because I have to, but I really do my best work after 6 pm. When I’ve had the freedom to shift my schedule into the night, it’s been great. Would that there were a whole lot more job slots for those of us (and I’ve known a few) like me, who are much more alert and productive at night. I don’t think there are really that many slots for night air traffic controllers. Other than a few international flights, there’s virtually no traffic at U.S. airports after 11 pm.

  20. 20
    franklaughter growls and barks:

    Jackboot’s points should be heeded notwithstanding the call for 2 or more people on duty at 3:00am.

    In the Korea War I was on duty in the company command bunker when the Regimental O.D. showed up in the wee hours. He didn’t tell me, but I figured he was on his way out to check our company Listening Post located some distance in front of our lines. That night the LP had four members, all seasoned combat vets with a SFC in charge. Of course suspecting the O.D. would check the LP I got on the Sound Power to give them a heads up, but all I heard was snoring. After several minutes of whistling and yelling into the phone the O.D.’s voice came on and he said, “Forget it sergeant. I’m here and they’re all sound asleep. Get your CO.”

    Think about it. Four combat vets sound asleep on a Listening Post right where an enemy patrol could stumble on them at any moment. These guys could have been killed and a Chinese patrol could’ve been in our bunkers before we knew an attack was coming. The LP detail didn’t consciously decide to take a nap but such a thing was totally predictable. Four good men became slick-sleeves but could’ve ended up in Leavenworth just because they couldn’t stay awake….at 3:00am, in the dark, while lying down, in sleeping bags, listening for enemy patrols. What could possible go wrong?

  21. 21
    Tallulah growls and barks:

    OT: did you see this? US military burned Bibles in Afghanistan, but mandates that our soldiers handle the queeran with “reverence and respect”:

    Bibles were sent to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. But the U.S. government determined that the presence of Bibles in this “devoutly Muslim country” might inflame the natives. So they burned them. Why did they burn them? Because it is “military policy to burn its trash.”

    So, the Bibles, according to U.S. policy, are trash, garbage, and it’s OK to burn them.

    When it comes to the Koran, however, an official Department of Defense memo specifies a rather different procedure. Item 4, “Handling”:

    “1. Clean gloves will be put on in full view of the detainees prior to handling.

    2. Two hands will be used at all times when handling the Koran in a manner signaling respect and reverence. Care should be used so that the right hand is the primary one used to manipulate any part of the Koran due to the cultural association with the left hand. Handle the Koran as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art.”

    Who confiscated the Bibles? According to CNN, the U.S. “chaplain.”

    CNN video at link:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerkimball/2011/04/16/why-it%E2%80%99s-ok-for-the-u-s-government-to-burn-bibles-but-condemn-burning-the-koran/

    IS YOUR BLOOD BOILING YET?

  22. 22
    Library Czar growls and barks:

    Also, another perspective–we’re not all wired for day work either. I, for one, am naturally nocturnal. It’s a major struggle to get to sleep before dawn, wake up in the morning and get alert and productive on “everyone else’s schedule”. I do it because I have to, but I really do my best work after 6 pm.

    Didn’t you know according to most of the managers I’ve dealt with while working hospital night shifts in the ER the world stops when their head hits the pillow. And I routinely make the mistake of letting my natural cycle take over on the weekends so that by Monday morning I am more tired than I am on Friday after working a full week.

    I agree with DJ I think it’s an institutional/systems problem not a people problem.

  23. 23
    Lady H growls and barks:

    Amen to this post.

    My mother worked a graveyard shift for a few years and never got used to it—confused her body so much, in my medical opinion, that she didn’t sleep very good for the rest of her life after that even when she retired for a while.

    You also have more of a propensity to eat more to stay awake thus predisposing you to being overweight.

  24. 24
    LC TerribleTroy growls and barks:

    Having worked a wide variety of shifts, I wholeheartedly agree that some shifts disagree with me and others are more intuitive (for lack of a better word) conducive.

    [Fixed it for you, Troy. "Conducive" seems to fit a little better. -Venomous]

    But be that as it may, I’m not so sure I want to remove any of the burden from the individual doing the job. Here’s my thing. Do I expect a convenience store clerk to nod off? Absolutely. Now, Do I expect a man or women whose job is to direct air traffic so that it doesn’t become a hazard to nod off? Absolutely NOT. Why? Because I expect the importance of the job and the compensation package to motivate their ASSES to stay awake and get proper rest. This is the mark of a professional. I don’t think its unreasonable to have this expectation when it comes to this job classification. Would any of us tolerate a Secret Service guy that “nods” off at his / her post?

    How about this approach, put camera’s in the work place and make sleeping, or appearing to be asleep, or appearing to be unresponsive a auto termination event? If the workload is so light as to favor (or even induce) the behavior, the solution certainly isn’t to add another person to the mix. I refer you to the poster who told the story of four members of a LP being sound asleep. Yeah, staying awake at the bewitching hours is a bitch, but it can be done.

    All in all I think the media is making much ado about nothing myself. Meanwhile back at the ranch, apparently we’re giving the Libyan “Rebels” 25 mil in material aid (Not weapons), including Halal meals. Has anyone identified exactly who the rebels are, so that we have a idea of what we’re supporting?

  25. 25
    VonZorch Imperial Researcher growls and barks:

    Grammar Czar says:

    We now have NASA in charge of global warming, since we eliminated the space program. Since we are funding them anyway, why not task them with designing some sort of sooper dooper computer system to help land planes, with only minimal assistance from a controller.
    Good grief. Computers pretty much got us to the moon and back several times, but they land a plane?

    There’s no need to get NASA involved. The Navy already has one in use.

  26. 26
    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    VonZorch Imperial Researcher says:

    There’s no need to get NASA involved. The Navy already has one in use.

    Back in the mid 80′s a frat bother (TDX) that piloted for Southwest showed me planes that from after takeoff until you were 30 feet from touchdown just basically flew themselves. I’m sure technology has progressed from there.

  27. 27
    LC TerribleTroy growls and barks:

    If Im not mistaken the majority of landings for larger aircraft operating under Instrument Flight Rules are at the very least computer assisted and with the exception of inclement weather conditions can easily be fully automated. I was also pretty sure that the Space Shuttle lands in full auto mode.

  28. 28
    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. growls and barks:

    LC TerribleTroy says:

    I was also pretty sure that the Space Shuttle lands in full auto mode.

    They gave them a window. What else does the monkey…..pilot need?

    (I fully appreciate all pilots, civilian and military, they do what I only dream about. Technology has surpassed what the human body can withstand and next generation planes have governors to make sure that the plane doesn’t kill the pilot. Is this good or bad…perhaps another thread)

  29. 29
    Cricket growls and barks:

    @ LC Jackboot, IC/A

    I forgot to add ‘do’ as in ‘They do do a dangerous job’, but knowing y’all, you would turn it into a joke about :em72:

    :em93:

    Off to watch Firelfy all over again.

  30. 30
    Cricket growls and barks:

    A question here about computers and flight: Wasn’t an issue with the Airbus crashes the fact that a microchip couldn’t talk to the computer? I ask because what if there is a miscommunication by the computer, and the plane is ‘unable’ to land?

  31. 31

    I worked graveyard three times in my life, once as a supermarket stocker, once as a night janitor in an electronics plant, and the last time as a midnight to six a.m. radio DJ right after college. I really had no problem adjusting to the time difference…..especially when I was doing the radio gig. I just packed a jug of high caffeine tea with me and with the additional help of some…..ahem……other stimulants I managed to run the station by myself for six hours straight three days a week.

    needless to say, as a result of my “stimulants” i was one wired up edgy dude when I got home from my shift. I really miss that radio job, it was a lot of fun getting paid to play whatever the hell I wanted to for six hours……don’t miss the drugs though.

  32. 32
    LC LucysDaddy--Imperial Tire Provider growls and barks:

    I work from 6:30 PM to 6:30 AM (with an extra 45 minutes or so at the start for inventory) at a tire plant as a supervisor. I work Mon-Tues, off Wed-Thurs, work Fri-Sat-Sun, off Mon-Tues, work Wed, Thurs, off Fri-Sat-Sun. It is like this all year long. The first day back is always the killer one. I try to nap in the afternoon before I go in, but it is not always feasible and if I do not get a nap on the first day, I am dragging ass by 3:00 in the morning.

    I feel for these ATCs, but if you cannot get yourself motivated and alert to land a freakin’ plane, then perhaps you should go work at McDonalds, where the worst you can do is burn the Filets O’ Fish. I know what it’s like, but if I knew that my every action had the possibility of killing several hundred people, I would sure as hell make sure I stayed alert and awake. Especially if I knew that the FAA was looking at every ATC in America…I would sure as hell make sure you NEVER saw my face on or read my name in the papers.

  33. 33
    Grammar Czar growls and barks:

    Response to Cricket @:
    Cricket, I wasn’t advocating a computer-only landing, but a computerized, atc-assisted landing, if possible. I don’t trust computers, at all, and I would never get on a plane that was run strictly by one. But, if we can get to the moon and back, all from the confines of the Johnson Space Center, and with a couple of astronauts, why is there such difficulty in landing an airplane?

  34. 34
    Grammar Czar growls and barks:

    OT, but Anthony Watts has some good information of the new squiggly bulbs. They aren’t as innocuous as the lefties would like us to believe. I am stockpiling incandescents. I refuse to kowtow to the greenies and their “superior” intellect.

  35. 35
    LC Jackboot IC/A growls and barks:

    SoCalOilMan, K.o.E. says:

    I’m sure technology has progressed from there.

    Yessiree, Airbus Industries has had auto-land features since the late 1980s. They were designed to allow landings at a large number of european airports that routinely experience fog below the ICAO/FAA minimums for Runway Visual Range which is the horizontal distance at runway level with adequate visibilty. (RVR). I believe that since then the systems have been perfected even more, but I recall a landing at BWI in the early 90s, riding in an Airbus 320, that I was particularly impressed with. A ‘greaser’ in aviation parlance. I managed to catch the FO on his way up the jetway and complemented the front office for an awesome job, in spite of a nasty cross-wind prevalent at BWI’s main runway (10/28 for our other pilot LCs). He explained that the machine did the whole thing. The system actually lands the aircraft and will stop on the runway centerline at the proper taxiway for that runway. The only thing NOT done by the auto-land is to reverse thrust. That is something exclusively left to the drivers, as an inappropriate reverse thrust could be really, REALLY inconvenient, say just short of the threshold. Amazing technology.

  36. 36
    Cricket growls and barks:

    Thanks for the responses! I agree about keeping alert to land a plane or three. If I am not mistaken, the main problem with fatigue is being permanently short on sleep to the point where rousing one’s faculties wouldn’t be enough to prevent a disaster, even with mandated minimum hours off.

  37. 37
    LC BOATS growls and barks:

    I’m retired now but for 33 years I worked a rotating swing shift at one week intervals — 8 to 4 –4 to midnight and midnight to 8am. Ive been retired since 03 and I still have trouble getting my sleep right. Even though I was always on my feet and there was plenty going on the midnight to 8 was still the toughest to stay awake. :em95:

  38. 38
    Lc ORWN engine builder for Rottie Racing growls and barks:

    LC LucysDaddy–Imperial Tire Provider says:

    I work from 6:30 PM to 6:30 AM

    :em69: :em69: You work…that’s the funniest joke I have heard all week :em69: :em69:

    ( Sorry Buddy just yankin your chain)

  39. 39
    LC LucysDaddy--Imperial Tire Provider growls and barks:

    Response to Lc ORWN engine builder for Rottie Racing @:

    Ok…ok…ok.

    You are correct. Perhaps I should have said this.LC LucysDaddy–Imperial Tire Provider says:

    I work show up and they pay me to be there from 6:30 PM to 6:30 AM

    Better??? :em95: :em95: :em95:

  40. 40
    Lc ORWN engine builder for Rottie Racing growls and barks:

    Response to LC LucysDaddy–Imperial Tire Provider40 @:

    MUCH… :em99:

  41. 41
    The Lone Haranguer growls and barks:

    I figured something was fishy about those controllers “sleeping on the job.” Even the trucking industry knows to run teams for long overnight trips, yet it seems OK to have a single controller on duty in the “wee hours.” I have little experience with this kind of work, but did work a couple of “graveyard” shifts at a gas station, back when they still had “full serve” islands. What I remember is not having any trouble staying awake, but getting back to sleep afterwards. It messed me up for a day or two.

    Response to Grammar Czar @:

    OT, but Anthony Watts has some good information of the new squiggly bulbs.

    :em02: