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FAA Convenes Panel to Address Air Traffic Controller Fatigue

The agency is hoping to address concerns around fatigue risks for its over 14,000 controllers.

A Southwest aircraft taxis in Austin (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced the formation of a three-member expert panel to address air traffic controller fatigue following a series of near misses across the U.S. airspace system. According to the agency, the panel will analyze the latest scientific research on sleep and fatigue, focusing on its impact on controllers and potential mitigation strategies.

Chaired by Mark Rosekind, formerly of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the panel includes Dr. Charles Czeisler of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dr. Erin Flynn-Evans of NASA’s Ames Research Center Fatigue Countermeasures Laboratory. The team will begin its work in January, reviewing existing research on controller fatigue before providing a final report to the FAA within six weeks.

The panel is likely to focus on examining current controller work schedules and shift durations through the lens of fatigue science, assessing the potential of advanced fatigue monitoring and mitigation tools in ATC facilities, and evaluating enhanced training programs for controllers to promote fatigue awareness and self-management.

In 2014, the FAA revised its regulations on flight duty limitations, codified under 14 CFR Part 117. This regulation provides more stringent requirements around fatigue management and rest requirements for flight crew members. However, limited regulations are in place for air traffic controllers and other industry workgroups.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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