Child Controls Air Traffic, FAA Investigates

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 03, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Should there be policies at the FAA for "bring your kids to work" days? The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation. The reason for the probe -- a child was overheard in an air traffic control tower directing air traffic at John F. Kennedy Airport.

Gasp! A supervised child in an air traffic control tower? What could be worse? 

Well, a plane crash for one. But there were no safety incidents nor any plane crash under this child's watch. In fact, as reported by CNN, the child was supervised by the father, in addition to other air traffic controllers, and did not do anything to endanger the safety of the planes. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is all tied up in knots over this incident, where a father allegedly brought his son to work with him and let him make five transmissions. The child was under the supervision of the father, an air traffic controller. The FAA cites the unprofessionalism of the incident despite the fact that none of the pilots appeared visibly disturbed by the incident.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, two tower employees are under investigation for the alleged incident. Pending the investigation, the parent of the child and the supervisor are relieved of their duties and have been put on administrative leave.

The child was heard in audio voice recordings making radio transmissions and the father was heard at one point saying: "This is what you get guys when the kids are out of school."

No pilots seemed to be bothered by the child and one pilot was even heard saying "awesome job" to the child.

Says FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt: "This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA's own policies, but common sense standards for professional conduct. These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable."

The FAA is currently reviewing all policies and procedures related to facility visitors at the air traffic control tower.

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