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Study: Brutal Schedules Make Air Traffic Controllers Fatigued, More Likely To Make Mistakes

By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) --- Air Traffic Controllers often face brutal schedules that leave them fatigued and more likely to make mistakes, according to a study commissioned by the FAA.

Traveling is stressful enough, and the report of chronically tired people in the tower doesn't help, at least according to some of the travelers at Philadelphia International Airport on Tuesday morning.

"Makes me thrilled to get on a plane today - in the rain better yet!" says Joyce from Quakertown. She's heading to San Francisco to take her daughter to law school, so this definitely was the last bit of news she wanted to hear before hopping on board.

"They're up there in charge of waving (the planes) in and letting everybody know what's going on, and if they're not awake, that's not a good thing," she says.

Was she surprised it took years and digging by the Associated Press to get this information out? Nope, Joyce says the FAA is a government agency after all.

But a seasoned traveler like Tom, who flies in and out of Philadelphia every other week, isn't so concerned.

"You have to look at how many accidents have there been," he says. "How many fatalities were there last year flying commercially?"

None in the United States last year, and zero so far in 2015. "To me it's the safest way to travel."

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