NTSB Identification: OPS11IA401
Incident occurred Wednesday, March 23, 2011 in Arlington, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/17/2011
Aircraft: , registration:
NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.
Between approximately 0004 and 0028 local time, an air traffic control service interruption occurred at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport when two air carrier aircraft, a helicopter, an airport operations vehicle, and controllers at the Federal Aviation Administration's Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control were unable to establish contact with the supervisory controller working alone in the control tower. Two air carrier aircraft landed during the period without tower contact. Postincident investigation revealed that the controller on duty had the necessary preconditions for the development of fatigue at the time of the event, specifically acute sleep loss in the 24 hours before the event and circadian disruption as a result of working the midnight shift.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: The tower controller's loss of consciousness induced by lack of sleep, fatigue resulting from working successive midnight shifts, and air traffic control scheduling practices. Full narrative available
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