I'm sure that you have all heard the story that has been all over the news this past week.... the one where the Air Traffic Controller brought his two kids into work and let his son and daughter talk over the radio even clearing a plane for take off.
This happened in New York's JFK airport, which is MY base and where I start and end all of my trips. There has been a lot of talk of how dangerous this was and the poor guy is even suspended.
Of course the first thing I thought was how would I feel if that was MY plane? Well, JFK is a busy and crowded airport at times. However, Air Traffic Controllers are professionals. Now, it might not have been the smartest idea to let his kids talk over the radio, but we might have two new Air Traffic Controllers in the making here. The fact is, these kids were not let loose to say whatever they wanted to, they were being told exactly what to say to the pilots from their dad.
If you read any of the articles about this, you would know that the pilot who received the clearance for take off actually told the kid "Awesome Job". He was fully aware that he was receiving instructions from a kid being fed lines by a Controller. No one was being deceived here AND if he didn't feel comfortable with it, the pilot could have Refused the Clearance.
I asked a few of my pilot roommates and they all had the same response, that this was blown out of proportion. Anyone can listen to Air Traffic Controllers online and someone heard this who doesn't really understand what goes on behind the scenes.
I trust my pilots everyday to keep me safe in the air and on the ground of the many airports we fly in and out of. They have to listen to the Air Traffic Controllers on where to taxi and when they can take off so I am also trusting my life to the Air Traffic Controllers as well. I trust that both of these groups are professionals will do their job in a safe manner. So, I believe that this man knew his job enough to know that things were safe and under control in JFK and was able to watch over his kids as they got to talk to the pilots and watch the planes take off. I really don't see the problem in that. It would have been a totally different situation if something bad had happened, but nothing did so I really don't see the harm.
I love how one of the articles states that Pilots are showing support to this Controller by ending their transmission to the tower by saying "Adios", which is how the son ended his transmission with an AeroMexico flight.