Kids Control The Skies AT JFK International

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 4:53pm

FAA confirms second child directed flights at JFK...

An air traffic controller at New York’s Kennedy Airport and his supervisor have been suspended after he allowed two children to radio instructions to several pilots.

More than a thousand planes fly through JFK Airport everyday and we now know on at least two days in February a handful were getting take-off, and landing instructions from a couple of kids in the control tower.

Child: "Jet Blue 57 contact New York departure."
Pilot: "Jet Blue 57 thank you, good day."

The young daughter of an air traffic controller communicating with pilots a day after her brother took the microphone.

Both transmissions recorded by live-a-t-c-dot-net.

Child: "Jet Blue 171, clear for takeoff."
Pilot: "clear for takeoff, Jet Blue 171."

What is not clear is how it could happen.

It is frustrating even frightening for many passengers.

"I’m a parent and I think that's really irresponsible, seriously, he could have caused a lot of trouble," said traveler Nidia Hernandez.

But at least one pilot and aviation lawyer isn't so sure.

On Thursday’s Today Show, Fred Tecce said a child may have been talking but the controller was still calling all of the shots.

"People who know what's going on, know it wasn't a safety risk, because he was ultimately the person in control," said Tecce.

But others argue.

"This is a serious business, it is not designed to be a child care center. And to bring your child in to turn that microphone over, whether you are instructing him or not, is not, the rules and regulations that enable us to fly a very safe air traffic control system," said Former NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker.

Federal agents continue to investigation if and how many of those rules may have been broken.

The union that represents air traffic controllers has spoken out about the incident calling it "unprofessional" and unacceptable.
 

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