Thursday, March 04, 2010

Beware Greco!

The Federal Aviation Administration suspended an air-traffic controller and his supervisor at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, after the controller allegedly allowed his 10-year-old son to radio instructions to pilots.

The next day, according to people familiar with the details, the same controller brought another youngster, his daughter, into the controller tower, and she also allegedly transmitted some radio messages to aircraft.

According to FAA and air-traffic-controller personnel, the boy apparently amused and impressed tower staffers with his knowledge of air-traffic-control language. One person familiar with the incident said the controller was proud of how much he had taught his son and may have been trying to show him off.

In the recording, the boy's squeaky voice can be heard relaying instructions to the aircraft, apparently after hearing them from his father; at times, a controller jumped in with additional instruction. "That's what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school," a male voice in the tower said.

In one exchange, the boy can be heard saying, "JetBlue 171 contact departure." The pilot responded: "Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job."... In another exchange, the boy referred to an AeroMexico flight as "Airmex" and signed off by saying, "Adios."

During the incidents last month, pilots appeared unfazed—and some seemed bemused—by radio messages from the youngsters. "I wish I could bring my kids to work," said one pilot.

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