Child Directed Air Traffic

Officials are investigating an incident where an air traffic controller brought his child to work and let him talk to pilots:

The probe comes after an audiotape caught the boy directing several pilots preparing for take-off last month.

In one exchange, the boy is heard saying: "JetBlue 171 contact departure." The pilot responds: "Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job."

The boy was apparently with his father - a certified air traffic controller. The adult is later heard saying with a laugh: "That's what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school."

In another exchange, the child says: "MS 4-0-3, contact departure," and then adds: "Adios, amigo." The pilot responds: "Adios, amigo." The pilots on the tape appear to be not concerned that a child is giving them instructions. (Source)

The pilots may not be concerned, but the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association are:

"It is not indicative of the highest professional standards that controllers set for themselves and exceed each and every day in the advancement of aviation safety," association spokesman Doug Church said in the statement.

The air traffic controller was put on administrative leave by the FAA while it conducts the investigation. David Pascoe, the owner of liveatc.net which posts recording of air traffic control communications, said that the whole thing was blown out of proportion:

"Nobody in the aviation community felt like this was anything more than a noble thing, that a father would take his kid to work.

"And when you listen to any of the recordings, the situation in the tower is very controlled. There is no hint ... that anyone was too busy or anyone was interrupting the planes. The kid cleared two airplanes. It was very controlled and I don't think safety was compromised, nor should anyone be disciplined for this," said Pascoe, who is also a pilot.

The recording was from a network of receivers, he said, but couldn't reveal the source. The site, he said, exists for pilot education and sometimes other curious parties listen in. There was "absolutely no security threat" posed by the incident, he said.

What do you think? Unsafe or just over-reaction by the media?


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Like mentioned a few times, it was supervised. The kid learned how things worked, followed instructions, and no problems occurred. This is a non-issue, and probably a slow news day for the media.
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This really is a non issue for me that the FAA has completely blown out of proportion. I really hope they don't fire the guy or anything.
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Oh bother. I flew with my dad when I was 8. he let take the controls a lot..even did some landing and take offs at 10 years old. It's all bout supervision.
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Not even close to being an issue. Air Traffic Controllers are a responsible lot, and I would not expect any degree of consequence. The alarmist media and the culture of Zero Tolerance is at fault for not placing this in proper context. At least the kid didn't do something truly heinous like bring a butter knife to school.
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Since we are human beings these things have always happened, and will continue to happen... we are just made more aware of them by an ever present Big Brother surveillance system. Sometimes I think there are some things we should not be made aware of... for our own mental health.
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