US officials are investigating how
a child was apparently allowed to direct planes at New York’s JFK airport – one
of the country’s busiest.
The probe comes after an audiotape
caught the boy directing several pilots preparing for take-off last month.
In one exchange, the boy is heard
saying: “JetBlue 171 contact departure.” The pilot responds:
“Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job.”
The boy was apparently with his
father – a certified air traffic controller.
The adult is later heard saying
with a laugh: “That’s what you get, guys, when the kids are out of
In another exchange, the child
says: “MS 4-0-3, contact departure,” and then adds: “Adios,
The pilot responds: “Adios,
The pilots on the tape appear to be
not concerned that a child is giving them instructions.
The incident happened on 17
February, when many New York pupils were on a week-long break.
The age and name of the child and
the adult on the audiotape were not immediately known.
The Federal Aviation Administration
said in a statement: “Pending the outcome of our investigation, the
employees involved in this incident are not controlling air traffic.
“This behaviour is not
acceptable and does not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from
all FAA employees.”
The agency did not give any further
The National Air
Traffic Controllers Association said the incident was “not indicative of
the highest professional standards that controllers set for themselves and
exceed each and every day in the advancement of aviation safely”