air towerAn air traffic controller and his supervisor have been put on leave because the air traffic controller allowed his kids to come to work with him. On the first day, the son spoke with pilots from the tower. Day 2, the daughter repeated the behavior. FAA folks are furious. “Take your child to work” wasn’t such a good idea in this case.

The cable news channels have been filled with the audios of the kids talking with pilots. The pilots have also come under criticism for not asking to speak with an adult. General consensus has been How stupid can you be!

According to

It’s anyone’s guess what the controller was thinking when he allowed his child take over the microphone, or maybe he wasn’t thinking at all. It’s not the first such parental blunder: Last year, an MTA subway operator let her son have a go at the controls of a New York City train.

The boy’s instructions to pilots were correct, presumably prompted by dad, and the pilots sounded amused as they responded. But there’s nothing cute about letting a child talk to pilots preparing for takeoff at one of the nation’s busiest airports. There’s a good reason air traffic controllers are licensed and well trained — to ensure the safety of aircraft and everyone on them. Control towers are high-pressure places where any distraction could lead to catastrophe.

The FAA released a statement saying the employees involved in the incident are suspended from the control tower pending an investigation, adding: “This behavior is unacceptable.”

Is there any excuse for allowing kids to communicate with pilots? Should certain businesses not participate in ‘Take your child to work’ day? Should anyone be allowed in an air control tower who is not on official business?

Video to hear kids’ voices

58 Thoughts to “Kids Direct Planes at JFK”

  1. Gainesville Resident

    I agree, this was when i was a teenager, and even at that age – I thought it was very very inappropriate. I don’t know how that guy kept his job – he was a dispatcher for several years and he did that the whole time! Very strange. Some of his quips were kind of R rated too! Naturally, the main reason I tuned in was to see what crazy/nutty thing he’d say next! I’m surprised the FCC didn’t get wind of it and shut him down.

  2. Gainesville Resident

    Of course, maybe he did eventually lose his job – so who knows?

  3. Gainesville Resident

    I do know one time someone in the local amateur radio club got a tour of the police dispatcher station and it was when Dispatcher #3 was on his shift – and that guy met Dispatcher #3 and told him there’s a large “Dispatcher #3 Fan Club” out there! He said (which I could tell from this guy’s voice) that Dispatcher #3 was a young guy in his late 20’s or so.

    I have a feeling these days, they wouldn’t allow that sort of stuff. And, Dispatcher #3 did eventually disappear, so I don’t know if he just left or was fired. That’s about the time I lost interest in listening to the police scanner, too! (What an amazing coincidence…)

  4. There is probably much greater liability now.

  5. Gainesville Resident

    That would be my guess too (regarding liability).

  6. Wolverine

    Equipment problems? Air controllers? Reminds me of a couple of experiences:

    (1) Flying on a Soviet-made Ilyushin with Soviet pilots in an African country where the upland airfields had NO control tower to speak of. About the time we should have been landing, the pilot got on the plane’s intercom and asked if everybody would look out the port windows. We all did so. The pilot then asked if anybody recognized the town down there. One fellow recognized it as his own hometown. Problem was that we were supposed to be landing at another town 150 miles away!

    (2) Flying between two African capitals in a big jet belonging to a major airline. One of the jet engines on the starboard wing went “Bang!!!” and started pouring smoke. People began to panic. The French captain came out of the cockpit and began walking up and down the aisle, trying to look at the smoking engine. Passengers started throwing anxious questions at him. He had only one answer: “It’s O.K. It’s O.K.” He then went back into the cockpit, and we never heard from him again. The poor African guy sitting next to me gripped the arms of his seat and never let go until the plane hit the runway at our destination. I swear that, by the time we landed, that guy’s hands were as lily-white as mine — maybe even more so!!

  7. Wolverine, now those are scary stories. Every time I fly I have to have a talk with myself anyway. There is just something about getting that huge plane up in the air that seems to defy the laws of physics. I bring myself back to reality by thinking about geometry as I look down at fields. When I can’t think about geometry I don’t have a very good flight.

  8. Gainesville Resident

    OK, Wolverine has me definitely beat by scary airplane experiences!

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