Last updated: 10:49 AM ET, Mon July 20 2015

Air Traffic Controller Allegedly Found Drunk On Duty

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | July 20, 2015

Air Traffic Controller Allegedly Found Drunk On Duty

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

Well, this is never good.

An on-duty air traffic controller at a small regional airport in Arkansas was arrested last week and is facing charges of public intoxication after a co-worker found him passed out and shirtless in the control tower.

The bizarre incident happened at Springdale Municipal Airport, according to Northwest Arkansas News, when a pilot attempting to taxi for takeoff could not reach the control tower to receive the proper clearance.

Police were called and the airport sent an employee to the control tower to find out what was going on. The employee found Philip Maschek passed out with his shirt off. The tower manager then took over air traffic control duties.

Maschek insisted that he only had water but when police arrived he refused to take a breathalyzer test and was charged with public intoxication.

Springfield Airport official Wyman Morgan told Arkansas Online that Maschek “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-orientated position.”

Tony Molinaro, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said: “The FAA will work with the controller’s employer to investigate the incident.”

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