Air Traffic Controller Lets 7 Year Old Son Direct JFK Flights

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An air traffic controller at Kennedy International Airport turned the tower over to his 7 year old son and young daughter letting them give radio instructions to five pilots over two days last month, according to aviation sources.

The lunatic controller, identified by the sources as Glenn Duffy, 48, of Stony Brook, LI, and his supervisor were placed on administrative leave yesterday after a media storm began to brew over the February incidents.

“A-Mex 4-0-3, contact departure. Adios!” Duffy’s flight-ready son squeaked to a departing Aero Mexico flight, according to a recording of the incident.

“Comair 7-4-4 clear for takeoff!” Duffy’s daughter chirped to a Charlotte, NC-bound aircraft, according to a separate recording of another incident.

I realize we live in a child-centric culture but this is insane. What’s next? A heart surgeon allowing his or her 8 year old child assist in the OR with a heart transplant?

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13 Responses to Air Traffic Controller Lets 7 Year Old Son Direct JFK Flights

  1. Peace Nick says:

    Hey, the new model for a return of child labor.

    Let the little darlings direct flights and pay them with candy and baseball cards and Barbies. So much cheaper than a $75,000 annual salary for an adult air traffic controller.

  2. mbmdl says:

    I actually saw several parents interviewed about this at JFK airport and they were fine with it. I mean, what are people smoking? Children have no business in an air traffic control tower giving orders to flights departing with people on board. This isn’t funny and people should be fired.

  3. libhomo says:

    I think the guy should suspended without pay but not fired. That should serve as a warning. If anyone else does this, they should be fired, since they have been warned.

  4. I think Peace Nick’s comment should be deleted lest our corporate overlords get any bright ideas.

  5. Big Hank says:

    This is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to begin.

    So suffice to say, the idiot father who played bring the kids to work day, at a Federal facility, and his supervisor, all need to be fired and lose their retirement benefits.

    Those shiny, metal tubes sitting on tires containing 300 men, women and children, depend on the men and women in the tower and the cockpit for their safety.

  6. JollyRoger says:

    Man. I have a little girl with an evil streak. I can only imagine…

  7. JollyRoger says:

    And in the interests of full disclosure, back when I lived in a rural area I used to let my 3 year old sit in my lap and steer the tractor.

    Let him do the car once, too. Ditched it 🙂

  8. DMason says:

    Excuse my naivete but doesn’t the FAA and the Federal government control international airports and their facilities? So a control tower is limited to Federal employees — not their brood. This is one of the most outrageous stories I’ve read in recent years and completely unacceptable. Hey, maybe next up is a pilot letting his 8 year old boy land a 747 with 400 passengers on board?

  9. Bee says:

    y’know, I could live with it if it was a tiny little country airport somewhere, where all they had to direct was the crop duster.

    But at Kennedy??? No f’ing way!!!

  10. Randy Arroyo says:

    Does anything in New York work properly?

  11. Joe says:

    My folks never let me do that kind of stuff. I had the most boring parents in the world…

  12. Jack says:

    Do you really believe that the kid was all alone?.. oh please!! …the dad was instructing him/ her all the way … give it a rest!

  13. Dwight_js says:

    Since this was such a positive, laudable, and harmless act, then why don’t
    we lobby the FAA to enshrine it by allowing, even encouraging the
    participation of children in every-day ATC?

    They could add a regulation stating that children are officially permitted
    to give air traffic clearances under the supervision of a qualified adult.
    Age limit for the kid would be, let’s say… above the age of 5… or should
    there even be a lower age limit? Heck, why shouldn’t your kid’s first words
    be “JetBlue 351, cleared for takeoff!”

    At least this would remove the danger of confusion on the side of the pilot
    when a child’s voice unexpectedly gives them instructions over the radio.
    Instead of saying “Who the hell was that?!?” the pilot would just say,
    “That’s right, we’re in America! They let their kids direct air traffic
    over here. God bless ’em!”

    The regulation could even be extended to animals that are able to mimic the human voice. I saw a dog on YouTube who can say twelve words – that’s more than enough for most ATC communications! If my parrot can say “Cleared for takeoff”, why shouldn’t he be allowed to say it to the pilot of a 747 with 400 passengers on board?

    So come on all you folks who believe that the controller acted reasonably,
    get behind me and let’s tell the FAA to get these necessary changes pushed
    through! Power to the people!

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