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Tired controller missed conflict between SIA A330, Jetstar A320

Controller fatigue contributed to a loss of separation assurance incident between a Singapore Airlines Airbus A330-300 and a Jetstar Airways A320 over Australia. ( Mehr...

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Frank DeLeon 10
As an ex-controller who worked for 35 years, I find this story absolutely ridiculous.

First, there are three types of separation: vertical, lateral, and longitudinal. Only one of these three is necessary at any one time to maintain legal separation between two aircraft. Countless times I have had two aircraft flying on the same route, in opposite or in the same direction who were separated by the vertical minimums (1000 ft to 2000 ft, depending whether they were at flight level altitudes or below FL180). Two aircraft may be flying at the same altitude as long as they were laterally separated; i.e. 5 miles in the enroute environment, 3 miles or less (visual separation if both pilots see each other and agree to maintain their own separation) if less than 40 miles from the airport. Lastly, longitudinal separation is separation by time. In a non radar environment an aircraft reports passing a navigational fix at a certain time then a following or crossing aircraft at the same altitude has to cross that same fix at a time X amount of minutes later (determined by speed).

Second, it is completely normal to have as few as two controllers working up to 10 combined sectors between the hours of 11am to 7am. This is called the midnight shift. Many, many times in my career I worked mid shifts with just another controller. What that's the case the eight hour shift is split between the two controllers. How it's split is up to them. I usually worked two on and two off during the mid shift, but I have many other colleagues that decided to split the shift in half. There are as few as two controllers on a midnight shift due to the sparsity of airborne traffic. If severe weather, high density traffic events such as the Super Bowl were forecast, management would add one or two controllers to the midnight staffing.

Lastly, I am sick and tired of the mainstream media's stupidity when reporting things they have no clue about. For the most part the media are made up of "the sky is falling" character types who love to bend, ignore, or make up facts to force feed to an equally ignorant audience.

The guy who wrote this needs to learn the meaning of the word, "research".

Donald Parsons 3
My disappointment with main stream media started years ago when I was an Aviation Student at Florida Institute of Tech. 60 Minutes was doing a segment that involved an airplane accident and defined a stall as basically an engine out situation. Since then I've been consistently amazed at how little "investigation" and research goes in to a news article. With the 24 hour news cycle and instant coverage of stories today, there is no time for proper research. It's all about who get the story first - we'll worry about the details and how correct the reporting is later. Much like our government, let's pass a bill now and read it later to see what it contains. I usually go to a technical publication if I want to read something about aviation that I want to believe.
Frank DeLeon 2
Having re-read my entry (now that I'm calmer) I see that I misquoted the mid shift hours. 11pm to 7am, makes a lot more sense.
frank1711 5
Is there really a story here. The aircraft were always greater than 5nm or 1000ft apart. That's separation, they don't have to maintain both vertical and horizontal, just one. Clearly nearly 4 hours with out a break is a problem, management may to be blame here.


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