WASHINGTON - Federal aviation officials are reviewing air traffic controller staffing at airports around the country after two airliners landed at Reagan National Airport without clearance from the airport tower because they were unable to raise anyone there.
CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reports that the air control supervisor on duty -- the only controller on shift -- had reportedly fallen asleep around midnight on Tuesday when the incident occurred.
Veteran aviation expert Mark Weiss tells CBS News that commercial aircraft being forced to land at an "uncontrolled airport" -- one at which no air traffic control is available -- is extremely rare.
"It's so unusual," said Weiss. "In the 20 years plus that I flew for the airline I did, it's never happened."
The pilots of the two planes were in contact with controllers at a regional Federal Aviation Administration facility about 40 miles away in Warrenton, Va., Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said Wednesday.