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Flight Controller Suspended For Letting Child Direct Traffic

An air traffic controller at New York's Kennedy Airport has been suspended after letting kids radio instructions to several pilots last month. CBS News Correspondent Tara Mergener reports he isn't the only one in hot water.An air traffic controller and his boss are under investigation this morning for allowing not one -- but TWO children to direct flights at one of the nation's busiest airports.(AUDIOTAPE WITH FONT)BOY: "JET BLUE 171 CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF"PILOT: "CLEAR FOR TAKEOFF, JET BLUE 171Controller Glenn Duffy first let his young son man the controls at New York's Kennedy Airport. Then -- just a day later -- another child...(AUDIOTAPE WITH FONT)"744...CONTACT DEPARTURE."PILOT: "744 GOODNIGHT."The FAA has suspended both Duffy and his supervisor for the incidents which took place last month during a school break.(AUDIOTAPE WITH FONT)"THIS IS WHAT YOU GET GUYS GET WHEN THE KIDS ARE OUTTA SCHOOL.

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armywife43

Asked by armywife43 at 10:51 PM on Mar. 4, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 21 (11,516 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • ."PILOT: "HAHAHA//WISH I COULD BRING MY KID TO WORK"(STANDUP: Tara Mergener/CBS News/Washington) :43-:53THE PILOTS MAY HAVE THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY BUT FAA OFFICIALS DO NOT. THEY'RE CALLING IT A "LAPSE IN JUDGMENT" THAT NOT ONLY WENT AGAINST FEDERAL POLICES, BUT ALSO JUST COMMON SENSE.(SOT: Peter Goelz/Former Managing Director NTSB) :54-1:06"IT WAS JUST AN INCREDIBLY STUPID MISTAKE. RUNWAY INCURSION, THE CONTROL OF AIRCRAFT ON THE RUNWAYS, AT MAJOR AIRPORTS IS ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL SAFETY ISSUES ."Both kids cleared several planes for takeoff including one international flight to Mexico City.(AUDIOTAPE WITH FONT)BOY: "ZERO THREE CLEAR FOR TAKEOFF."PILOT: "403 CLEAR TO TAKEOFF THANK YOU VERY MUCH. YOU HAVE A GREAT DAY."BOY: ADIOS AMIGOS

    http://www.keyc.com/node/34437

    what do you think?
    armywife43

    Answer by armywife43 at 10:52 PM on Mar. 4, 2010

  • There's been a lot of talk about this over the past day or so. The controller's union isn't going to step up to defend these folks, because the rules in this particular business are rigid. Too many lives at stake.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 10:57 PM on Mar. 4, 2010

  • I think it was cute! the kids got to see what their daddy did at work, and it's not like he just left him there to say whatever he wanted (if you watch the video you can hear what they didn't write above) the dad was right there next to him telling him what to say.

    i see the dangers in it as well, but in this case i hope they don't get into too much trouble.
    armywife43

    Answer by armywife43 at 10:59 PM on Mar. 4, 2010

  • After hearing about this from a number of different commentators, I think I am on the "they are over-reacting" side. From what I understand, the father had a "kill switch" on the mike that would have allowed him to cut off what the child was saying at any time. Also, the father did do all the directing of the planes, and more-or-less let the child give a basic phrase, such as clear for takeoff. I do understand that the controllers have a very important job, but is this any different, really, than allowing visitors in the tower? That used to be allowed, I don't know if it still is, but it was some time ago. I just think that the FAA is overreacting (but I do see where they are coming from, don't agree, though...)
    29again

    Answer by 29again at 11:27 PM on Mar. 4, 2010

  • I can see the potential for danger, but I also think that this was an experience for the kids that was good for them. Whatever happened to job shadow.
    etsmom

    Answer by etsmom at 12:14 AM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • I am sure the children posed no threat but an emergency could have arisen, while this was going on. There is no room for distraction in this job, too many people's lives are at risk, so slap the perpetrators on the hand, make sure everyone understands that you cannot bring your kids to work here and move on...
    agentwanda

    Answer by agentwanda at 12:36 AM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • Hey I heard that on the news this morning. I was hoping that he wouldnt get fired, i am glad he got suspended. I understand what he trying to do for his child, but those are ppls lives he messed with.
    4xsthetrouble

    Answer by 4xsthetrouble at 4:47 AM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • The bottom line is the child could have been a huge distraction. If something had gone wrong reaction times would have suffered. It is like texting while driving. I guess I'm glad he wasn't fired and only suspended. Every Air Traffic Controller needs to remember this the next time he is thinking about multitasking outside of his job requirements.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:12 AM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • My husband and I were discussing this. He is a certified Air Traffic Controller and spent many years in the AF as an Air Traffic Control Officer. We both think it was a very stupid thing for the controller to do, but people make mistakes and it shouldn't ruin their lives. The children were clearly repeating what their father was telling them and there was no immediate danger. There could have been a problem if an emergency arose. This should be used as an example of what NOT to do. The controller should have some additional training and suffer a short suspension.

    This being said, it would be great if times were set up during slow/down time for kids in very small groups to make short tours. Kids benefit from seeing different jobs. It is hard to decide what to be when you grow up if you don't know what kinds of jobs are out there.
    yourspecialkid

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 1:07 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

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