Air travelers question safety after spate of blunders

Following a string of recent incidents involving air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job or committing errors, some people are questioning the safety of

RONKONKOMA - Following a string of recent incidents involving air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job or committing errors, some people are questioning the safety of air travel.The most recent incident happened Monday when a plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama and the vice president's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, was forced to abort its landing after coming too close to a massive cargo jet.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) insists the first lady was never in any danger, but travelers at Long Island MacArthur Airport say the incident is unsettling. The FAA reported nearly 1,900 operational errors last year, up more than 600 from the previous year. Forty-four of the mistakes nearly led to mid-air collisions. In addition, a half-dozen air traffic controllers have been suspended for sleeping on the job, which aviation experts say has been happening for years due to fatigue. "The problem is we're taking people and making them work 16 hours straight in some cases, and to be a controller working 16 hours straight is like playing Russian roulette," says former FAA inspector Richard Wyeroski.

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