On-duty air traffic controller found passed out drunk
An on-duty air traffic controller was arrested after being found unconscious and intoxicated on the tower floor.
Controller in charge, Philip Maschek, aged 50, was found in the early hours of the morning at the Springdale Municipal Airport, Arkansas, by another employee who said Maschek was ‘passed out in his chair with his shirt off’, according to a police report.
A pilot on the tarmac preparing to take off couldn’t get the tower to respond last Thursday, said Wyman Morgan, an airport official.
The controller position is a ‘highly sensitive’ role, Morgan said, who called police.
Morgan said Maschek had made an error ‘we couldn’t tolerate’.
“The tower operator has control and responsibility of the safety of the planes landing and taking off at the airport. It’s a very safety-oriented position,” Morgan added.
Maschek, who works for a contractor which operates air traffic control duties at the airport, failed sobriety tests and was clearly showing signs of intoxication, according to the police report.
“The FAA will work with the controller’s employer, to investigate the incident,” said FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro.
The contractor Robinson Aviation has also started its own investigation.
Maschek was arrested for public intoxication and is being held at Springdale jail.
Monday, July 20, 2015