March 5, 2010

"We all bring our kids to work. That just happens to be his profession."

Trying to wring sympathy out of kid-loving readers for that air traffic controller who let his kids take over.


AllenS said...

Yeah! Type size is bigger.

rhhardin said...

It appeals to the parent-empathetic not kid-loving.

I doubt you can find anybody that knows about aviation that's bothered by it.

But panic sells audience.

vet66 said...

There are certain jobs where total concentration and attention to one's work requires professionalism and focus. These sensitive positions are also known for the requirement to submit to random drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employmemt.

These jobs are not a reality version of television's Family Guy or any hollywood sitcom. It is also an environment where medical marijuana is not allowed.

Scenario: Control Tower "OOHH, the colors, the colors..! Where is flight OU812?"

KCFleming said...

As long as children don't get on stage to sing or dance, I'm okay with it.

It'd be far safer to let 6-year olds run Congress for a day. Hell, even the amount of incontinence would be the same.

MadisonMan said...

Do I want someone that stupid and self-centered controlling planes?

Anonymous said...

Yea, I'm a cop, and I took my kid to work yesterday. He popped a cap in the ass of that suspect at the Pentagon.


traditionalguy said...

Another example of this government's habitual use of fear to control the public thru news articles slanted into "no reality need apply" territory. This has become a vicious world that only pretends to protect us from bogeymen by scapegoating good men. How dare anyone be a good father!

Anonymous said...

"The kids feel it's their fault."

Well, good.

It is their fault.

Look ... you can't say "Adios, Amigo" to the Aeromexico jet pilot. Just because he flies for AeroMexico is no reason to stereotype the pilot as a Spanish-speaking illegal immigrant.

I mean ... how gauche.

Those kids need a lesson in how the world their parents are creating is going to be left for them, so naturally, they must be fired along with their stupid father for denigrating the fine people of Mexico.

AllenS said...

Good thing that Obama doesn't let his kids near the White House. Who knows that kind of idiotic ideas that they would come up with. Playing doctor? Playing with trains?

KCFleming said...

Pathologists, proctologists, and prison guards hate Bring Your Kids to Work Day.

Anonymous said...

"How dare anyone be a good father!"

Letting your kids take the controls of the aircraft on final is not being a good father. My God, is this how all liberals think? Is it no wonder this country is in the shitter.

Directing jet traffic at the nation's largest airport is dangerous and not childs play, no matter how much feel-good mumbo jumbo has been stuffed into your cranium by the fucktards who brought you up.

It's being a moron father who deserves to have his kids taught a lesson in how not to behave at work.

My brother, a firefighter, has a son who wants daddy to let him drive the ladder truck and my sister is a cardiac nurse whose daughter wants to see what it feels like to intubate a child in a coma.

But they don't let them do that stuff. Because they're good parents and they weren't raised by dope-smoking idiots.

Go back to sucking your bong, traditionalguy.

Anonymous said...

"Good thing that Obama doesn't let his kids near the White House."

Dude, Sasha has been secretly running liaison with the Congress on health care. People think it's all Rahm, but it's not.

How do you think it got all fucked up and the Democrats weren't able to git 'r done with 60 Senate seats?


It's all her fault because Obama is trying to be a good father and let her run the country.

traditionalguy said...

@ NewHam...Have you no decency?

The Drill SGT said...

"The guy is the safest guy in the world. He wouldn't do anything that would hurt or put anybody in jeopardy," said Johnstone, whose sister is married to Duffy.

Both the ATC and the flying business are areas where total focus on the mssion are required 24/7.

distractions and failure to follow procedures are unacceptable regardless of how big a smiley face you put on it.

The simple presence of those kids or any unsuthorized vistors in the control room is a danger. Not only is the parent not focused 100% on the business at hand, every other controller is distracted by hearing those kids give directions.

terminal stupid.

as a measure of how stupid, his union has written him off as well.

Janelle said...

When I saw the title......I thought it was an article about Obama's behavior and his childishness.

Anonymous said...

"Directing jet traffic at the nation's largest airport is dangerous and not childs play, no matter how much feel-good mumbo jumbo has been stuffed into your cranium by the fucktards who brought you up."

Let's also remember that this is the same control tower personnel structure that allowed a controller to talk to some pussy he was trying to get on the side while he was directing a helicopter into the path of an oncoming Cessna, just a few months ago, killing everyone on board both aircraft.

That control tower is out of control and the management needs to be shaken up before more people die.

People are dying because of the unprofessionalism of the air traffic control center in New York City. And this is just another symptom of it.

Having your kids in the tower directing traffic is a distraction from important work that has to be done to keep the crowded skies safe. It's that simple. Otherwise, people die. Thankfully, this father wasn't so distracted by letting his kid direct traffic that some jet he wasn't watching didn't fly into other traffic.

But that's just luck.

Fire this moron - to send a message to all the other morons that they better shape up or ship out.

KCFleming said...

One could probably measure the difficulty of a job by the stupidity of letting your kid come to work.

For some jobs, it would be feared, one might find an improvement, or at least no difference.

Anonymous said...

@traditionalguy, who wrote: "Have you no decency?"

Yes, I do have decency. I care more about the flying public than I do about one moron who doesn't have the common sense of a pig.

You, clearly, don't care about the thousands of people relying on these air traffic controllers. Or you'd spare a word for their souls.

You'd rather we look the other way while unprofessional air traffic controllers are distracted playing with their fucking kids in an air traffic control tower.

Have you no decency, sir, for the thousands of people your advocacy puts in danger?

Here's what happens when controllers are distracted in the New York City TRACON tower:

Watch as a Cessna is directed to fly into a helicopter because the Air Traffic Controller was on the telephone trying to get some pussy from some chick.

People are dying because of stunts like exactly like this and we have to put a stop to it. Management at this control tower need to be shaken up.

I reserve my decency for the thousands of other people who don't bring their children in to distract them from their dangerous jobs.

Have you no similar decency?

KCFleming said...

Bring Your Kid to Work Day Stupidity Level.
(score 0-10):

5th grade teacher
Soldier on patrol in Iraq
Social worker
Community organizer
Construction worker
Performance artist
Diversity liaison for a hospital

I am detecting a pattern.

kjbe said...

I certainly hope some responsible adult steps up and convinces those kids it's not their fault. Nothing screws up a kid better than sending them mixed messages. Dad needs to step up his game.

Anonymous said...

Here's the NTSB animation showing the distracted New York TRACON controller trying to get some trim on a personal phone call - all the while vectoring a Cessna-type aircraft directly into the flight path of a helicopter taking off over the Hudson River:

Note that the distracted air traffic controller gets off the phone just at the moment of impact when people's bodies started raining out of the sky.

People die when air traffic controllers in New York are distracted from their important jobs.

traditionalguy said...

@ NewHam...Three strawmen and a diva's closing argument never wins in front of a jury that has heard the facts of what actually happened and what actually did not happen. Fear is a useless emotion, unless you can instill fear in your opponent's heart. Fear of being slandered by you is all that you seem to have to sell. Sorry, no one is buying it.

KCFleming said...

Ah, lay off, NewHam. Tradguy's views are good. He knows that kids have long done some of the most dangerous jobs in the world, including farming and soldiering, and working in factories (till do, in some parts of the world).

If handled right, a little kid can be brought into a highly technical area like air traffic control and talk into the mike. Jebus and Steve, it ain't that hard, man.

Bringing them into that NYC tower was stupid because it was already a safety problem. But it could be done right.

In some towers across the midwest, ain't 5 planes a day landing, so intense concentration is only a periodic need. So it depends.

Point is, incidents like this get the nanny state involved because everyone Freaks Out and Big New Laws get written and more papers get filed etc. etc.

Maybe New York needs a mom and dad. Fine.

KCFleming said...

"I certainly hope some responsible adult steps up and convinces those kids it's not their fault."

Fortunately, the kids of the Human Resources department were on hand to assuage their fears.

Anonymous said...

Unprofessional, sure-- but a letter of reprimand and, say, a week of leave without pay would have covered that.

But also dumb-- because the guy had to know that it would get it, and the agency would be forced into a CYA overreaction.

rhhardin said...

They let me send a request for traffic on the Ascania long ago.

I'd been hanging out in the radio room.

The ship remained unsunk.

Scott M said...

Are people really getting dumber? Is this tantamount to slouching toward decline? Who in their right mind would allow a child to get on the mic? Standing in the back quietly watching I can almost understand. But this?

KCFleming said...

At a small town airport? Sure.

O'Hare? No.

I'm not all wigged out about it. Reprimand. Local rule according to judgement. Avoid a Federal Response.

paul a'barge said...

"let his kids take over".


Please, for the love of everything that descends from logic, please explain to me how he "let his kids take over".

Because the kids did not take over. The dad was standing immediately next to the child, doing his job and holding the microphone up to the kids mouth and telling the kid "repeat after me: ".

Help me understand how you got from this to "let the kids take over".

paul a'barge said...

... and for what it's worth, I agree with vet66.

Peano said...

Bad judgment by the controller, worse judgment by management, because they're the ones who failed to set a policy of no children in the control room (except when they're on guided tours).

Controllers shouldn't be allowed to bring their kids to work for the same reason cops shouldn't be allowed to take their kids along in the patrol car when on duty.

The controller should have been penalized, but not fired. That's an over-reaction by managers who are equally at fault.

bagoh20 said...

People can sure be self-rightous sometimes as they drive around in one ton vehicles with the phone in their ear and the kids climbing over the seats.

Air traffic control is not like in the movies. It's often quite slow with nothing happening and usually there is no danger in having visitors in the room. Many control rooms have live tours with groups in the room while controllers explain what they are doing. At least they used to when I was learning. If you've been in a tower during operations, you understand how harmless this likely was.

This hysteria is the kind of reason free thinking that gives us zero tolerance in schools allowing children to be punished for doing something that could have looked like something that might be scary like drawing a picture of a gun.

This was not dangerous if done right at the right time.

Triangle Man said...

The guy let his kids relay a few words on the radio to a plane on the ground. Not a big deal.

Other imaginary things he could have done might have been a big deal, but reality is more mundane.

Triangle Man said...

How about letting your kids shoot an M-14 off the fantail of a war ship?

exhelodrvr1 said...

As a retired pilot, I think this is being blown way out of proportion. The radio calls they were making were not the sort that would cause problems if there was a mistake made that was not corrected immediately. And the father was obviously telling them exactly what to say and was closely observing them.

exhelodrvr1 said...

This person was not in the process of telling aircraft when to turn, or guiding someone through the clouds on an instrument approach. He was telling the planes they were cleared for takeoff. THere is a huge lack of understanding on what this individual was doing.

bagoh20 said...

"How about letting your kids shoot an M-14 off the fantail of a war ship?"

Assuming it's not docked in the marina next to the SS Minnow, that would be the Kewlest dad ever. Will he adopt me?

tim maguire said...

Much ado about nothing. The kid was obviously told exactly what to say, these were obviously not emergency situations, and the real controllers were there in case an emergency cropped up.

Just another media generated BS scandal.

CatherineM said...

I agree with the pilots/ex pilots and ATC guys. All the kid parroted when his father told him to was clear for take off. The hysteria over this is ridiculous.

Unknown said...

The issue for some people here seems to be that nothing went wrong so no harm, no foul. Just because nothing did happen doesn't make it OK.

No, it's not the kids' fault. The Old Man is the idiot here, the kids sound as if they have more of a sense of responsibility than him.

BTW, ask yourself what you'd be thinking if the captain piped one of those exchanges through the cabin as you descended.

AllenS said...

Good thing that Obama doesn't let his kids near the White House.

Unfortunately, the American people let Obama near the White House.

bagoh20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jrberg3 said...

Much ado about nothing. Some of the hysterics in this comment thread (yeah I'm looking at you NewHam) are worse than the hysterics the media are placing on this story. It's almost liket the networks were focusing on this in the hopes people would be distracted from the One's ongoing campaign to destroy our country.

Unknown said...

Maybe Obama should let Malia take over for a couple of hours. She could tell him not to spend the country's allowance until he earns it.

Michael said...

This was ground control and the kids were repeating what the parent said to direct a plane to a departure runway. Ronald R. proved that air traffic control, the real atc and not the guys in the control tower, were replaceable and that air traffic controllers did not have the hardest, impossibly stressful, most sophisticated jobs in the whole wide world. Chill out.

Oh, and "adios, amigo" means goodbye pal. Mexicans say it to each other and if you say adios, amigo to a Mexican friend (if you have one) he is not insulted and does not think you are making him into some sort of stereotype. Again, chill.

Anonymous said...

On my blogpost on this subject (And A Little Child Shall Lead Them, one of our commenters wrote:

" Just because they got lucky in the case of the ATC incident in NY doesn’t mean people responsible for letting this happen should be able to walk scott-free. That’s the problem in today’s society: People who break laws (or in this case, regulations) don’t get punished until someone dies as a result of their neglegence.

In this case, no way should the parent get away with a mere slap on the wrist. The severity of the infraction - NOT the outcome – should be the only criterion considered when determining the proper corrective action.

I would be inclined to fire the supervisor if he/she knew (and approved) the father letting his son on the air. If the father took it upon himself to do this without checking with the Supervisor, then the father should get sacked. End of story. The safety of the public is NOT something to be compromised under ANY circumstance."

I think he hit the nail on the head there.

d-day said...

Two days ago, as a mom with a toddler that I would gladly take everywhere with me - like a loaf of french bread - if only she'd let me, I thought this was overblown.

Then I went on a business trip requiring 8 flights in two days. During one of them, the pilot let us listen in on the cockpit during the entire flight, while we buzzed low through San Francisco Bay on a 757 (!) and flew down the California coast. The constant, constant conversation with air traffic control is astonishing, and this even where there was only land on one side of the plane. Every little bump prompted a request to change altitude to avoid the chop, many of which were denied due to traffic, and in one case there was a potential issue with landing because of a hovering police chopper near the airfield.

That was a quick and easy-seeming flight. I cannot imagine how one could possibly focus on this with children present, let alone calling it.

Michael said...

d-day: the incident in the news was by GROUND CONTROL not the air traffic control you listened to on your flight. The kid was not, on his own, deciding which runway a plane was going to take off on. He was repeating instructions his father had given him. There was no split second decision required, nor would there be because they were on the GROUND.

Phil 314 said...

So what a minute, are you saying I shouldn't have let my surgeon's son make the initial incision!?

Anonymous said...

"I had a discussion with my daughter, Amy, the other day, to ask her whether she thought I could get American out ahead of the Airbus on short final, and still have wake turbulence minima behind the preceding departure..." -- ATCS James Earl Carter (transcript of post-incident QA interview)

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a pilot that flies into high density airfields only occasionally, I can say one thing for sure: I don't need the distraction.

Maybe the guys who fly into those places all day, every day know what to expect and the controller's instructions are little more than a formality. That's not true for everyone in the sky.

When I've got my hands full trying to conduct a safe operation into a strange field in heavy traffic the last thing I need is to suddenly hear a child's voice issuing ATC instructions. I rather not wonder if some kid in the Bronx hasn't found an old aircraft transceiver, rigged an antenna and decided to play "Tower".

BTW, ground control does not clear flights for takeoff.

Anonymous said...

If there were a true safety risk here, the fact that the aircraft involved were on the ground would make it worse, not better. Usually, the closer to the ground, the less time you have to fix any errors. The worst accident in aviation history happened because a pilot misunderstood instructions he was given before takeoff.

Anonymous said...

It took over 50 comments before somebody came out and referenced the 1977 Tenerife disaster. Surprised no one has yet mentioned Aeroflot Flight 593.

There is a reason that air travel in the U.S. is so safe these days and fatal accidents extremely rare. Because there is a strict standard of professionalism, and rules and procedures to be followed. I don't doubt that the actual risk to the public in this incident was likely microscopic. But that's beside the point. Once you start letting the rules slack in an industry where lives are at stake, it's only a matter of time before things slack to the point that a preventable tragedy occurs.

scottfree said...

These kids learned the best lesson possible on Daddy's "Bring the kids to work day".. The workplace is no place to fuck around. We do serious shit here in order that Mommy and Daddy can bring home a paycheck to support you until you are old enough and smart enough to take care of yourself.

bagoh20 said...

From what I read of the details of what happened, absolutely nothing could have gone wrong. He was clearing a plane for take off and all he said was the tail# and "cleared for take off". I don't know what people think could happen. It's just in your head. The pilot is sitting there on the runway waiting for that simple line. The dad says: "say it" and he does. I've been there a thousand times and I can't imagine anything the kid could do that would cause a problem in that situation. Professionals were right there to assure it. It just wasn't dangerous. Maybe he broke the rules, but he put no one in danger. We all do more dangerous things in our cars every day. Passing a school bus in normal traffic is more dangerous. Having semi trucks on the highway is more risky. A little perspective, please.

WV: "woops". I shit you not.

Anonymous said...

Look ... you can't say "Adios, Amigo" to the Aeromexico jet pilot. Just because he flies for AeroMexico is no reason to stereotype the pilot as a Spanish-speaking illegal immigrant.

I can be as politically correct as the next super-sensitive soul, but this is really overreaching. There's nothing wrong with saying "Adios" to a departing Mexican jetliner; it doesn't matter if the pilot isn't actually a Latino. You could just as easily say "Arrivederci" to an Alitalia jetliner or "Sayonara" to a Japanese plane or "Aloha" to a Hawaiian flier.

As for the incident itself, I'm a bit torn. The side of me with a sense of humor found it very amusing, even enchanting. The side of me that tries to be a grown-up is outraged at the lack of professionalism shown by the controller. Why did it have to be at JFK? If it had been some small to medium hub out in the boondocks, it wouldn't be so appalling.

Synova said...

"I doubt you can find anybody that knows about aviation that's bothered by it.

But panic sells audience.

I'm with this. It's a non-problem being pushed into hysteria by people who think that the control tower and what goes on there is some sort of black magic.

The idea that this was laxity or sloppy or anything possibly affecting safety is a huge stretch. The controller was in control and the situation was safe. What do people think happens? The controllers just make up the stuff in their heads on the fly so that someone else relaying a routine message is a break in the cognitive process?

Synova said...

"I don't doubt that the actual risk to the public in this incident was likely microscopic. But that's beside the point."

The point is that what really matters isn't safety, it's people wetting their pants and finding an excuse to make it sound like a mature thing to do.

(Maybe that's more snark than is warranted, but geez louise people!)

Jason said...

I think Take Your Daughter to War Day was a lot more fun.