Thursday, 4 March 2010

Kiddies Controlling Airplanes In New York

I had to be peeled off the ceiling when I heard about this one!
Two controllers allowed a child to issue commands to pilots from the ground and tower controllers positions.

Pilots were heard to express amusement when answering the young boy, with some even going as far as having general chit-chat over the airwaves with him.

In one exchange, the boy is heard to say "JetBlue 171 contact Departure" to which the pilot replied "Over to Departure, JetBlue 171, awesome job kid!"

It turns out that the boy was the son of a JFK Tower Controller who was with him to have a look around while on his school holidays.
The guy has now been suspended, pending an FAA investigation which will probably result in him losing his job.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association have launched a scathing attack on the controller stating that he was unprofessional and put the lives of hundreds of people at risk at Kennedy Airport.

As far as I am concerned, they can shove that opinion up their collective asses!
There was nothing wrong with what was done by the controller. All was perfectly monitored and supervised and I sincerely doubt that the kid was left alone on position. Just a case of "Hey son. I am going to say this and then you say this ok? Here....I wrote it down for you."

My guess is that whoever sanctioned the investigation is one of those management dickheads who has never given a takeoff clearance in his life.

All the fun is slowly being squeezed out of this industry by jobsworths and morons who have no idea how or where aviation came about, and have no idea of the types of people involved in both flying planes and controlling them.

If there are any more pilots or controllers reading this.....get writing and let the FAA and NATCA know just what we all think......that no harm was or could have been done - at least not outside of some ass-covering safety manual written by an insurance company.

We are aviators. Professional, flexible and don't mind the odd joke or dream come true for a kid on the radio.
This sits right up there with the ban on cockpit visits. Nonsense, insurance company ass-covering again.
Beancounters and non-flying management types are slowly destroying our industry from the inside out.

I'm fuming. Really, I am!



boxster said...

kid in the tower of the marmul strip - maybe

jfk - i don't think so

Jet Driver said...


Seriously's not an issue.
If it me, I would be the first to kick off!


omanobserver said...

you could do some serious damage in the Marmul tower, mainly to coffee cups and newspapers.

fully agree JD - as a layman the first thing that occurred to me was "so what?". I assume it might be slightly different if it were ATC, especially for crowded airspace, as I assume the concentration thing is key there?

btw the "fucking jobsworths taking all the fun out of it" applies to just about every profession, sadly, and the UK has made an art form of it.


fred_says said...

heck, I assisted with surgery at a hospital when I was a 14 year old, as part of my "work experience"

(I fainted at the sight of the intestines & blood & oooer, got dragged out, and puked up, but that's a different story)

fred_says said...

forgot to add, needless to say, I crossed surgery off my options list

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, JD.

While I have never let my son talk to aircraft (he was too young at the time) my wife has certainly cleared a few aircraft to land, etc (under my instructions). It's not like the kid was actually making the decisions, was it? What's the difference between what he did and an unlicensed trainee on the mike?

Like you said, it's the jobsworths of this world, together with the 'shock/horror' media revving up unthinking public opinion.

Magani (retired expat OOMS ATCO)

desertman said...

Next it'll be the surgeon telling his son, "now just hold the scalpel like this and cut there...that's it....don't worry about that son, we'll stitch up that artery and he'll be none the wiser!".

Point is, the kid isn't qualified....with or without the adult standing behind him. End of.

flugholm said...

I completely agree with JD.

I issued freq changes as a (circa) ten year old. Not that I thoght them out myself. My dad sat right next to me and did exactly what you described: "Hey son. I am going to say this and then you say this ok? Here....I wrote it down for you." Good fun! And everyone liked it.

But then that was in the Seventies. Who would have thought that there I'd ever got hit by nostalgia!

Jet Driver said...


It's, as I said, just corporate arse-covering and media hype!

Give Berlin my love!!