Kids in JFK Flap: We Got Daddy in Trouble - NBC New York

Kids in JFK Flap: We Got Daddy in Trouble

Two kids directed air traffic on consecutive days in February



    An air traffic controller who allowed his young son to direct planes at one of the world's busiest airports let his daughter have her turn the very next day.Read more: (Published Thursday, March 4, 2010)

    The kids whose air-traffic controller father allowed them to direct pilots at one of the world's busiest airports on two separate occasions apparently feel responsible for the firestorm that now surrounds their fun-loving dad. 

    A relative of the beleaguered controller says the brother and sister who happily directed the skies blame themselves for their father's suspension after he brought them to work.

    "The kids are upset," brother-in-law Larry Johnstone told the Daily News. "They feel it's their fault, They're thinking, 'Daddy's in trouble because of me."

    Johnston told the paper from his home in Georgia that his brother-in-law wouldn't do anything to put people in jeopardy, and that "we all bring our kids to work."

    Controller Lets Kid Take Over at JFK

    [NY] Controller Lets Kid Take Over at JFK
    It was bring your child to work day at the Kennedy Airport tower, but officials were not amused.
    (Published Wednesday, March 3, 2010)

    But we don't all let them give orders to pilots flying commercial jets.

    The FAA says the controller, identified by the News as Glen Duffy, brought children to work on two occasions last month  -- on Feb. 16th and 17th -- and allowed them to talk to pilots. The controller and a supervisor have since been suspended.

    "Pending the outcome of our investigation, the employees involved in this incident are not controlling air traffic," the FAA said in a statement. "This behavior is not acceptable and does not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from all FAA employees." The agency declined to comment beyond the statement.

    The recordings — made during a weeklong winter break for many New York schoolchildren — were posted last month on a Web site for air traffic control-listening aficionados.

    In audio recordings captured by, the young kid could be heard clearing planes for take off and landing. At one point the child even has fun with an Air Mexico flight, saying, "Adios." (listen to the entire exchange above or here)

    Neither employee has been officially identified and the child's age has not been revealed.

    Below is a transcript of an excerpt of the audio recordings as the child talks to different pilots:

    Child:  "171 cleared for take off."

    Pilot:  "Clear for take off JetBlue 171"

    Child:  "Let's see your Air Mexico 403 Kennedy, runway through left position and hold."

    Pilot:  "Going to hold Air Mexico 403."

    Unknown:  "This is what you get guys when the kids are out of school."

    Unknown:  "Wish I could bring my kid to work."

    Child:  "JetBlue 171 contact departure."

    Unknown:  "Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job."

    Child:  "03 clear for take off."

    Dough Church with the Air Traffic Controllers' National Union released a statement saying, "We do not condone this type of behavior in any way. It is not indicative of the highest professional standards that controllers set for themselves and exceed each and every day in the advancement of aviation safety."