Friday, March 05, 2010

KIDS RUNNING THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWER - OH MY!

So in February, a daddy took his twin children to work with him.  He is an air traffic controller, by far probably one of the most stressful jobs on this planet.  He is proud of his kids.  They are proud of their papa.  I think he did this as part of a "take your children to work" project or something, although I really am not sure about that, so don't quote me.  

The kids obviously could read and read well, so he saw no harm in putting the headset on them and letting them speak to a pilot of a JetBlue flight.  The little boy said something like, "You're cleared for takeoff," and then Papa said, "That is what you get when the kids are out of school."  The pilot even quipped back, "I wish I could bring my kids to work with me.  Awesome job!"  Then the father allowed the kids to talk to another pilot, say something like, "Cleared for takeoff," or something.

When the story broke yesterday morning, I thought the father was going to be applauded for actually bringing his kids to work with him.  I thought, "Wow, lucky kids."  

Then I realized this was turning into a media brouhaha with reporters talking about how ridiculous it was to let the children anywhere NEAR the control tower.  I kept thinking that, by the FAA's own admission, we would absolutely go insane if we realized how many near misses there are everyday over our heads and on our runways, and the people controlling THOSE planes are adults.

I just do not see any harm in these kids saying a few words to the pilot under the watchful eye of their daddy, and I say LET IT GO MEDIA!  There are real problems to focus on in this world without making sure some other poor sap loses his job!  

Just wondering what you think?  

New York (CNN) -- "Unauthorized and unprofessional" is how an internal memo describes the conduct of an air traffic controller, who allegedly allowed his two young children to speak with pilots on an air traffic control frequency, and his supervisor, who allegedly allowed it to happen.
The memo, dated February 25, was written after the facilities manager for the air traffic control tower at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport learned about the incident, a source familiar with the investigation told CNN.
"The display of professionalism in the past by the control personnel at this facility has been exemplary," the memo said. "However, a lapse in judgment for what may seem a minor transgression diminishes our credibility and slights the high standards of professionalism."
It was not immediately clear what prompted the manager to write the memo or how he found out about the incident, the source said.
The incidents occurred on succeeding days last month at JFK, the Federal Aviation Administration said this week, and the controller and the supervisor have been placed on paid administrative leave.
"We have an incredible team of professionals who safely control our nation's skies every single day. This kind of behavior does not reflect the true caliber of our workforce," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in the statement Wednesday.
Babbitt was referring to the February 16 incident involving the controller's young son, who is heard in a recording -- posted on liveatc.net -- clearing a JetBlue flight for takeoff and later speaking to an apparent Aeromexico flight.
Later, an FAA official, who asked not to be identified because of the ongoing investigation, said the controller brought his daughter into the same tower the following day, and the child was allowed to talk with pilots of two planes.
A separate source said the supervisor "should be making sure that things like this don't happen."
Yet another source familiar with the investigation said the two children are twins.
The controller who brought the children to work later reported that he had done so, the source said. The controller and supervisor involved are veteran employees, the official said.
Dave Pascoe owner of the Web site where the recording of the air traffic communications is posted, told CNN he thinks the attention the incident has drawn is "ridiculous" and it has been "blown out of proportion."
In the recording, a child says, "JetBlue 171, cleared for takeoff."
A man then tells the plane, "Here's what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school."
The pilot chuckles and says, "Wish I could bring my kid to work." The same pilot later tells the child, "Awesome job."
During the recording, which is dated February 17, the child also speaks to an apparent Aeromexico flight. A recording from the following day, when the daughter was reportedly in the tower, also was posted on the Web site.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown later said the incident took place about 7:30 p.m. February 16.
Pascoe said most people "in the aviation community felt like this was (not) anything more than a noble thing, that a father would take his kid to work."
"It was one incident where a kid was up in the control tower," he said. "If you know anything about aviation, you know that the air traffic control towers are highly supervised. ... A father was taking a child to work and let the kid clear planes for takeoff and now the world thinks it's an unsafe place."
The FAA has suspended all unofficial visits to air traffic control operational areas during its investigation into the incident. Babbitt has directed a team to review air traffic control policies and procedures related to facility visitors.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the union representing controllers, issued a statement, saying its members "do not condone this type of behavior in any way."
CNN's Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.

1 comment:

Magpie said...

I agree with your feelings entirely. This world has gotten to be such a piss ant kinda place. Sorry, that's not very nice language, but seriously, people have really forgotten what is and isn't important. Shish!!!