Air traffic controller suspended for letting child direct traffic at JFK (video)
The Federal Aviation Administration has suspended an air traffic controller at New York’s Kennedy Airport for allowing his elementary-school-aged son to direct traffic, according to the Associated Press.
The controller’s supervisor was suspended as well after recordings of the radioed instructions were posted on the Internet and subsequently reported on by the media.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement:
“This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA’s own policies, but common sense standards for professional conduct. These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable… This kind of behavior does not reflect the true caliber of our work force.”
Nonetheless, the AP reports that on the recording, the child appears to repeat instructions given to him by his father and does not tell pilots where to go or how to maneuver the plane.
In the initial call, the boy says “JetBlue 171 cleared for takeoff.” He signs off on his last call saying “Adios, amigo,” to which one pilot responds in kind, according to the AP.
Dave Pascoe, the founder of LiveATC.net, a Website that monitors controller talk, said he believes the entire situation is “…being blown out of proportion.” He added, “This is just a completely controlled situation. A child was being told exactly what to say… I think it’s just fantastic that this guy cared enough to take his kid to work. How many parents take their kids to work these days?”
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See a video report regarding the incident below: