Child in Control Tower Story Is Old News

by john on March 4, 2010

Control Tower

You’ve undoubtedly heard the story from yesterday about the air traffic controller at JFK who is in hot water for letting his child direct some planes last month. It’s amazing to me to see such a big stink being raised about this because I’ve seen a group of professional air traffic controllers bringing children into the control tower to do just that – and at no time were they ever not in complete control.

These photos are from a Cub Scout outing from a few years ago when my son was 10, the same age as the boy in these stories: Wall Street Journal – Air Controller Accused of Letting Kids Talk With Jets, CBS News – Air Traffic Controller Hands Reins to Kids, Chicago Tribune – Child air traffic controller and The Washington Post – Child in control tower just to name a few.

Every kid who wanted to got a chance to give instructions to a plane, but only after the air traffic controllers working with the kids found some appropriate situations where I am sure appropriate meant they had time to calmly write easily understood instructions to the kids. Here is a closeup of the one my son got to call:

Control Tower Instructions

It reads “5614 cleared to push A10” if I am reading it right. A few of the kids got to talk to pilots who weren’t already on the ground like this one was. Some of the kids were matched with pilots who didn’t skip a beat when being instructed by a child and some made witty observations about it. At no time did anyone remotely think anyone was in danger. And they weren’t.

I can’t say the same for the people on the recieving end of this de-icer spraygun that they also got to shoot. 🙂

De-Icer Gun

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