"Stop Whining" Say Some

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The story also prompted spirited comments from a minority of respondents who said they were tired of the rhetoric. A contract tower controller and former PATCO controller who was fired by President Reagan in 1981 said controllers know what they’re in for when they sign up. “The shifts, the overtime, it’s all part of it,” he said. “If you don’t want to do it, then don’t become a controller.” This fellow was particularly incensed by those who claim that they can’t get enough sleep between shifts and said it’s their responsibility to ensure they’re properly rested when they show up for work. A former ATC supervisor told us he thought the whole thing was a media stunt. “I suspect the napping controller incident was a NATCA setup to gain media attention,” he wrote. The former supervisor also questioned the universal request by working controllers to keep their identities confidential, one of whom said he feared for his job if quoted in the media. “Has he ever known a controller who was fired? For any reason?” wondered the ex-supervisor, whose name we kept confidential even though he didn’t ask for it.