It's a first for New York Traffic control at New York's Kennedy airport where a traffic control agent permitted two kids to direct air traffic last month during a student break. Both the traffic controller ands supervision have been suspended by the the Federal Aviation Administration.
It was more than a surprise when pilots approaching Kennedy Airport heard direction called in with a child's small voice. Although the air traffic controller explained that he was just showing his child were he works and what he does. Sounds plausible. Many parents do take their kids to see them at work. But directing traffic with super jets carrying at times hundreds of passengers is quite different than bringing your chid to the drugstore or the bakery were the parent works.
Air traffic controllers are one of the highest paid professions without a college degree. There is a good reason for this. Controllers work on a shift schedule that involves them performing their duties on weekends, holidays, and all hours of the day and night. Air traffic controllers work eight hour shifts with limited or no breaks. In a one hour sitting an air traffic controller may be responsible for more money and lives than an average person is during their entire lifetime.
Many things can affect the complexity of the traffic a controller has to deal with. Imagine what could have happened if there were an emergency and the child was in the way or the child gave the wrong information to the pilot. Anything could happened; even death.
Even though the boy's instructions to the pilot appeared correct, there is nothing funny or even interested about a child directing air traffic at one of the world's business airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident and released a statement saying the employees involved in the incident are suspended from the control tower pending an investigation, adding: "This behavior is unacceptable."