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March 03, 2010


An investigation is underway¹ into why a young child, apparently under an adult's supervision, was allowed to direct air traffic at New York City's John F. Kennedy International Airport, U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.

(Thanks to Not My Usual Alias, Siouxie, and Schadeboy)

¹ Or, in English, under way.

UPDATE: Here's the recording.

UPDATE: Child air traffic controller #2.


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Could've been worse. His Dad could've picked him up from school in a WeinerMobile. That would be terminally mortifying.

When questioned, the air traffic controller stated that this was the only way he could get his son to eat vegetables.

A crooked butcher will under weigh your order.

"You want an adult air traffic controller? Yeah, that'll be an additional $30 fee."

I thought the kid handled it very well. We just had a complete transcript of the conversation between the kid and Jet-Blue flight 171 on BBC.

Miss Muffet slipped and ended up under whey.

Mot, they played the tape on TV this morning. He actually did handle it very well. Very professional. Sadly, he'll probably be taking over Daddy's job permanently.

Sometimes the best method for convincing skeptical teens is to under "WAAAAY".

Was the flight headed to Canada?

Kind of makes you wonder, eh?

I heard that this morning. Cute kid. "Adios, amigo!"


I say send this kid to Washington!

The kid did a better job than most local traffic cops.

siouxie: seriously? you and ron (of paul and)... after the helicopter/plane crash last year because of the guy talking with his gf, i can say i don't want ANY attention being taken away from the job if *I*m on the plane. and that goes double for sleeping pilots, which is another lovely news item i've been reading about lately.

Under where?

I think the larger problem here is that Air-traffic probably ran smoother than usual.

judi, it's not like he was left alone. The dad was there with him and the pilots seemed to take it lightly.

Oh and ACCCK!! ...ron??? I never agree with him!! maybe I'll reconsider LOL

I think the boy handled the job admirably. As long as there were no disruptions, and there weren't, then I don't see the problem.

lol sure, schade: "as long as a helicopter and a plane don't crash into each other, it's no problem if they're not paying attention."

this is an argument i had with my ex repeatedly; he'd do something incredibly stupid and dangerous, and I'd say "i can't believe you did something so incredibly stupid and dangerous!!!" and he'd say, "but nothing happened! so what's the problem?!" ummm... that's not the POINT?

It sounded to me like he was only talking to stopped planes in line to take off, but maybe they only played an excerpt on the news here.


a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, esp. in a self-righteous or irritating manner.

My father let my daughter "fly" his plane at Christmas 1984. She had total control over the craft at 5 years old. She couldn't see over the instrument panel.
I was in the back seat and I was fine with it.
I wonder if I would have felt differently if I had known he was 6 weeks away from a sudden fatal heart attack?
I hope there were other adults in the tower.

yo, its noo yawk! its taken a long time to hire all those traffic controllers Reagan fired.

sorry, schade, i guess i'm not allowed to voice my opinion in such a priggish manner. my apologies ;)

Cute kid, nice break, did OK. BUT, one of the couple of positions you don't want put your kid in.

(Pilot) Junior, want to land the plane.

(Sniper) Junior, you can get the kill if you aim for the heart.

(Bank Robber) Junior, just look over the counter and say stick 'em up, amigo.

judi - You are quite allowed and welcome to make your comments, priggish or nay.

The blog will, of course, fire you. But we will always welcome you back!

When someone has a dissenting opinion, it doesn't mean they lack a sense of humor or are prigs.

Sorry, but I'm 100% with Judi.

Yeah, the kid was cute but Dad is a putz. Bring YOur Kid to Work Day is fine but when you let him drive the subway train (or fire truck) you get fired, period.

I thought the airlines only gave out the wings to the problem children, not the ones who behaved.

When I saw the story, I was really glad that I wasn't anywhere near JFK on the ground or in the air.

At one point I was considering becoming an air traffic controller because I wanted to reduce my job stress. I guess you have to be related to someone to get a job.

And you have to like gladiator movies, cigarettes, liquor and glue.

*joins judi on the priggish bench*

I do NOT want my life in the hands of a ten year old, thank you very much. Not amusing.

I'm flying with judi on this one.

More confusion.

The difference between a kid driving a fire truck, flying an airplane, etc., and this being:

The kid did not, by virtue of being "plugged in", in any way inhibit another controller from immediately overriding any instruction he gave or might have given. He was not physically at the controls of anything. All he was doing was pushing a button and parroting what he was just told to say.

IANAATC but I am a pilot and I know lots of controllers. It's quite common for a "trainee" controller to be plugged in with a certified controller (who is also plugged in) watching over his shoulder. That way, if the trainee should make a mistake, it can be corrected immediately. I don't see how this is in any way different from that, and everyone who is terrified by this needs to take a big handful of Valium and relax. You didn't hear any of the pilots freaking out about a six-year-old on the radio, and for good reason -- it's not a big deal.


It sounds funny, but I wouldn't want my life in the hands of a kid either.

Thank you, Chris!!! From what I heard, the pilots were not freaking out and took this very lightly. I didn't think it was a huge deal. I trust that there are professionals around to keep it safe.

That being said...Adios, amigos!

Gee Siouxie, if you were on a plane and heard an announcement from an 8 year old child, you wouldn't be thinking, "WTFBBQ?!"

I know I would.

The guy brought his second kid to work the day after the first one and did the same with her.

"Lapse in judgment" and "unprofessional" are two of the terms that have been used to describe his behavior and I agree with both.

I also saw this on TV and my first thoughts were WTFBBQ? Sorry, pilots, but... I do think it's a big deal. Maybe it is because of how it was shown on the news here. First they had a clip of Capt. Sullenberger talking about his new book and how he is retiring and then this. I know that one didn't have anything to do with the other but in my opinion it is right up there with a surgeon bringing his kid to work. "Wanna play a real game of Operation son?"

I remember being on a flight from NY to D/FW and the captain came on to make his usual announcement. What was unusual was that he began by saying, "Good morning, folks, my name is Captain Crash and I'm your pilot for today ... the weather today is pretty nice ..."

My eyes bugged out. I asked the passenger next to me if he'd caught the name. "No, I wasn't really listening." I told him "Captain Crash" and we had a good laugh about it.

Well obviously SOMEONE had to talk to the planes while the controller was on his designated 'fruity pebble' break.
Next thing you know, they'll expect the guy to turn up to work sober and not have open containers of liqor littering the control tower.

Say I work in a bank. Want my kid moving your money? Even if I tell her which account to put it in? I'm with Judi.

The biggest problem?

Take your daughter (and maybe son too) to work day isn't until next month.

That's right one-blank, imagine what that's going to be.

I really don't think there was a problem - I don't think anyone's life was in that child's hands. Repeating "clear for take-off" when it was the right time, decided by the dad?

BUT as judi was saying, just because this one incident wasn't a problem doesn't mean it was okay -- it was one, minor, isolated thing, but employers need to know that there won't be 12 kids in there next time, or the next one won't cause a distraction at the wrong time, etc. Everybody "knows" their kid will be perfect but that tower is no place for kids. Too much could go wrong, even though it didn't in this case.

@nannie: Okay. "I work at a bank."

pilot arrested Bork! Bork! Bork!

It was adorable and the kid did an admirable job, but it should not have happened and shouldn't be allowed to happen again.

Interesting (?) quote: "Nearly 48 million passengers pass through John F. Kennedy airport annually."

I'm sorry. They have my sympathy.

MOTW: I was once on a flight and the pilot announced himself as Captain Kirk. Everyone grinned.

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