Burbank, Ontario Airports to Have Two Controllers at Night

In the Wake of Yet Another Air Traffic Controller Falling Asleep on the Job, Four Airports in California, Including Burbank and LA/Ontario International will Now Have Two Controllers at Night

The control tower in Burbank will never again be a solo operation.

Effective immediately, Bob Hope, Ontario International, San Diego and Sacramento airports to have at least two controllers on duty at all times.

The order came Wednesday from an angry Secretary of Transportation.

"This is ridiculous, and I'm not gonna sit by and let it happen. I'm just not. Not on my watch," promised Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation.

Just before 2 a.m., Wednesday, the pilot of a Medevac plane from Mammoth Lakes with a seriously ill patient onboard, urgently tried to land in Reno.

There was no answer from the control tower for 16 minutes, but radar controllers in Northern California were listening. They called the Reno tower, but got no answer.

Desperate, the Medevac pilot finally landed on his own, without clearance.

On Wednesday the FAA said the lone controller on duty had fallen asleep.

"You do not put money over safety. You don't do that," states Bob Richards, a former air traffic controller.

Veteran air traffic controllers say for years the FAA has tried to save money by keeping staff low at airports with light overnight traffic, like Bob Hope.

But now Burbank, Ontario along with 25 more airports nationwide will now have two controllers working in the dead of night, instead of one.

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