US controller grounded in DVD probe

28 April 2011 12:36

A US flight controller has been suspended over claims he was watching a film instead of directing traffic

A US flight controller has been suspended over claims he was watching a film instead of directing traffic

US aviation chiefs have suspended another air traffic controller - this time for watching a DVD instead of directing aircraft.

Eight controllers and supervisors have now been suspended by the Federal Aviation Administration for allegedly losing contact with planes while on duty.

While travel insurance provides peace of mind for holidaymakers, the scandal will do little to reassure passengers on carriers in the States.

The latest controller to be suspended was watching the 2007 crime thriller Cleaner, starring Samuel L Jackson on a DVD player at a regional radar centre in Cleveland that handles high altitude air traffic, FAA said in a statement.

The controller's microphone was inadvertently activated, briefly transmitting the film's soundtrack to all the planes in the airspace that the controller was supposed to be monitoring, the agency said.

The controller's microphone became stuck in the transmit position, preventing him from hearing incoming radio calls or issuing instructions to planes for more than three minutes, the FAA said.

A military pilot contacted the FAA about the incident.

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