Air Traffic Controller Suspended for Watching Movie on the Job

Newest incident brings more negative press for the FAA and ATC.

In what has become the latest in a string of ATC infractions, the FAA has suspended an air traffic controller and manager after the controller was caught using a portable DVD player while on duty at Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center early Sunday morning.

According to a statement released by the FAA, the controller was working a radar position when the controller’s microphone unintentionally activated, picking up and transmitting a movie soundtrack for more than three minutes over the active radio frequency for that airspace. A military pilot alerted the ATC center of the problem by transmitting on an alternate frequency.

The incident comes just days after numerous reports of controllers sleeping on the job forced the head of the FAA's ATC, Hank Krakowski, to resign.** **

In light of the recent problems, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt and National Air Traffic Controllers Association president Paul Rinaldi have initiated a "Call to Action," in which they are visiting ATC centers across the United States in an attempt to discuss safety issues and promote professionalism.

In a press release issued last week, Babbitt said, “we are conducting a top to bottom review of the way we operate our air traffic control system.” They began their tour in Atlanta on Monday and will be visiting additional ATC centers in other U.S. cities throughout the week.