world

Air traffic controller let son direct planes at JFK airport

28 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
Login to comment

This is sad. There are so many unemployed Americans today; jobs are hard to find, yet this guy basically throws his job away by being stupid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

motogaijin,

Was the controller in question really being stupid? I am not so sure. This is very different than the case of the joking controller mentioned at the end of the article. This controller was in full control the whole time. They merely had their child say the directions instead of saying them themselves.

This is a tempest in a teapot and people need to learn when to react and how not to over-react.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The two adults deserve to be fired. ATCs are crucial for the safety of planes landing and taking-off. There are so many examples of small mistakes that cost the lives of hundreds of passengers. Canary Islands' accident in the 1970's is just one. In Japan we had the two JAL Boeings near-collision situation in 2007, due to ATCs mistake. That's why it's one of the jobs that really should be handled by the military instead of civilians.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I understand what you are saying. However, in this case, it seems no mistakes were made.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kinniku, you mean a child in a high security place such as an ATC tower giving orders under the view of an adult is acceptable if a fatal mistake does not take place? So, according to your line of thought, it's ok then to have a child taking care of traffic on a national highway, or bullet trains. You kidding! Tell us what you work with, so we can perhaps avoid a fatal or finacial catastrophe where your 7-year-old son is taking care of your business

0 ( +0 / -0 )

However, in this case, it seems no mistakes were made.

But what if there were? The controller wasn't stupid, just careless; however, lives are potentially at stake and such carelessness is unacceptable for an ATC.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LostinNagoya,

If the article is to be believed, the child was not giving orders. He was repeating orders given to him.

From the article:

"On the recording, which lasts about a minute, the boy appears to repeat instructions fed to him by his father. At no time does the child tell aircraft how to maneuver or where they should go."

The boy was not 'taking care' of anything. He was repeating what he was told.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gaijinocchio,

If mistakes were made, it would be a different story. However, I remind you that mistakes are also made with only ATC in the room as well. Note the last part of the article:

"The episode comes less than seven months after a controller at an airport in nearby Teterboro, New Jersey, was placed on leave for his actions in the moments leading up to a deadly crash between a helicopter and small plane over the Hudson River.

The controller was recorded joking on the phone with his girlfriend as he dispatched instructions to the doomed plane. He ended the call when he realized the plane had dropped out of radio contact, just seconds before the crash."

Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with people deciding this should not be done in the future. However, it is obvious that the ATC was in control of the airplanes throughout in this case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This flies in the face of simple common sense --- JFK is one of the busiest airports in the world. If the man wanted his son to talk on the radio he should have bought him a HAM set at home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kinniku, be serious. An ATC tower is not a place for a kid to be pretending to be in command.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LostinNagoya,

The kid was not in command. He was never in command. His father was. That is the point.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The kid clearly constitutes an authorized person in the control space. It doesn't matter that the kid was repeating what an adult was telling him to say; an unqualified and unauthorized individual should never ever be permitted to communicate with aircraft over official channels. The father/conroller and his supervisor should be punished, at the least reprimanded, for allowing a situation which even potentially could have been disastrous.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

USNinJapan2,

I assume you meant to say: The kid clearly constitutes an unauthorized person in the control space.

I confess, I am not familiar with these kinds of rules. If it was against set rules, it would be fair for them to be reprimanded.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I just read the story in another article. Evidently, the ATC also let a second son do the same thing the next day after the story reported here took place. I take back what I first stated. This does seem to be a much more seriousl problem than it appeared to be at first glance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Supervisor should have told him to take the kid home. The kid was a distraction and should not have been there. Lucky there were no accidents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kinniku

I assume you meant to say: The kid clearly constitutes an unauthorized person in the control space.

Yes, obviously. Thanks for the catch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually, a voice of a child is easier to understand over transmission than that of a grown man. Airports ought to do ATIS recordings by employees of ATCers. That would put so many smiles in the cockpit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually, a voice of a child is easier to understand over transmission than that of a grown man. Airports ought to do ATIS read outs by children of ATCers. That ought put more smiles in the cockpit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Boy: "AMX 403, contact departure adios"

Air Mexico 404: "Contact departure Air Mexico 403, adios!"

He was clear and articulate, a refreshing change from the Burnt out Brooklyn accented tin pushers, don't you think?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The audio of the conversation described in this article is available here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-G5xV_N8N1U

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Major airports in the US (only) are now going to hire young boys to direct traffic because it is a refreshing change and their guardians can now find the time to chat with their girl friends. Congratulations. A clear message protocols don't need to be followed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Should this be allowed to happen? No, of course not. Did it cause a problem? No, it didn't but, a problem could have occurred while this was going on, when the controller was not concentrating 100% because the boy was there. I am surprised at the reaction of the pilots though, very relaxed.

Beelzebub: He could perhaps buy the boy a CB set to play with, HAM radio needs a licence, exams have to be passed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This was unacceptable, period. Please stop trying to justify it or excuse it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The panic attack of so many of you here is amusing. Please read the details! There was no danger. The planes were not in the air, not even taxiing down the runway, not even moving. The kid made no decisions about anything. He just relayed pre-departure instructions while the plane was sitting there.

I would prefer that there were more oversight with something like this and a system. I don't want every air traffic controller taking his kid to work on a whim. But it sounds like everything was under control here and it made the pilots' day. Those guys are not robots you know, and if this keeps them awake and in a good mood, that is a good thing. Rigid professionalism puts people to sleep!

I would like to see a system where the kids are checked out by supervisors to make sure they are calm and serious and then give them the go ahead. But that is my only possible objection and this particular controller should be given a slap on the wrist if he did not okay it with his supervisors first. The supervisor should be left alone whether he knew or he didn't. Its not his fault if the kid was snuck in. Make a system for this. "Problem" solved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

HeyLars

No. Neveer in a million years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My 8-year-old is asking if you guys know how much an ATC salary is? He is thinking about applying with FAA or perhaps Delta - if it's ok to have kids on ATC towers, then soon they will piloting planes with their pilot dads too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Controlling air-traffic is not a game and it should be taken seriously. Suspension of the air-traffic controller is right but the thing is how he had taken this silly decision of allowing his son as an instructor. FAA should be stricter so that nobody can do such wrong actions. Carelessness of Aviation professionals can leads to dangerous results.

http://www.commercialpilottraining.net/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agree with the guys that said the kid shound't have even been in the room.

There is a reason why those area are OFF-LIMIT to all UNAUTHORIZED Personnel

Not as serious but at one of my companies one worker took his kid into our computer-room to show him around.

Kid pressed a button that is the EMERGENCY power-cutoff to ALL the Mainframes and Servers.

Took us 2hrs to get everything back up, our clients(Banks, Insurance Companies, Hopsitals, etc) were not happy.

ATC been fired for less than what hapopened in the article before, it is one of the jobs where no failure/mishap is tolerated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites