Air Traffic Controller Arrested for Being Drunk at Work

By Denise

Sobriety is no doubt the top priority thing everyone wants for an air traffic controller in charge of guiding planes landing or taking off.

But police say one air traffic controller in Arkansas failed miserably to meet that criteria last week.

Awareness dawned that something was amiss Thursday at Springdale Municipal Airport in Arkansas when a pilot received no response from the tower to repeated requests for clearance to taxi.

An employee sent to check on the air traffic controller on duty found him "passed out in his chair with his shirt off," according to a police report.

When police officers arrived at the scene, the controller, Philip Maschek, was squatting in front of a small refrigerator, swaying back and forth as he drank from a water bottle.

The officers determined that Maschek, 50, was showing signs of intoxication. He denied he was drunk but refused to take a Breathalyzer test, according to police.

The officers arrested him on suspicion of public intoxication.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the contractor for which Maschek was working have also begun an investigation into what happened, said Lynn Lunsford, an FAA official.

Maschek resigned over the weekend and won't return to work, Lunsford said Monday.

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