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Thread: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

  1. #51
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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    I can say that Aps, bless her heart, is a very closed minded person. She is the type of person who thinks that their opinion is the only right one. Well, there are two types of opinions, uneducated and educated. I would like to think the latter is worth more than the former. She doesn't know things like ATC is not "in control" of aircraft, pilots are. Pilots are solely responsible for their safe flight, not ATC. A pilot has absolute authority over the airplane at all times and can simply answer, "Unable" if they receive a command from ATC that they aren't happy with. If any pilot, at any time, was unhappy with the kid in the tower, they could have immediately said "unable" and made the real ATC guy come on. Pilots don't blindly follow ATC instructions, or they shouldn't anyway. ATC is just another human being, they aren't perfect. But I wouldn't expect Aps to know this.

    That being said, I have a lot of experience in the aviation industry. I have worked around planes for years, I am a licensed pilot and I am a licensed airframe mechanic. Air traffic control is not all inclusive and all the same. The guys working with airplanes in the air are way more stressed than the guys with planes on the ground. Ground control is just that. However, it is "tower" that clears a plane for takeoff.

    That being said, I don't think this was a smart idea. But, the media is sensationalizing this out of this world. Aps, did you know that 50,000 people a year die in car crashes in this country? Just how many die in aviation accidents? I don't think it breaks 1000 to be honest, and that includes ALL small airplanes as well. Flying is very safe. What if this had happened at a dead po-dunk airport in the middle of BFE? Nobody would care because it wouldn't have affected a well-known busy airport. But does that make it any smarter to do? Does John Smith in his Cessna 172 not mean as much as John Smith in an airliner? I would like to think it wouldn't matter the airplane or airport, but it does. The media needs ratings BAD. This is the best way to get them. ANYTHING airliner related makes major headlines. Why? Because we aren't in control. Just like with Toyota, the cars would go out of control so it made major headlines. We don't like to not have control of our lives. But the fact is, control is only an illusion at best.

    Sorry Aps, I will only agree with you up to the point of saying it was a stupid decision but to fire the guy? Nah, that was even dumber. Two wrongs don't make a right.

  2. #52
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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    A little more clarification on how things work:

    In addition to the pre-determined departure path, at a busy airport like Kennedy, there are several controllers in the tower at any given time. There's even more than one listening in on that particular frequency, as shown by the "position and hold" clearances. (to use position and hold, there must be a second supervising controller on-frequency as a backup)

    Even if the kid throws a tantrum, the father can override his microphone at any moment, and if the father has to step away for a moment because the kid is freaking out, there is another controller there to takeover at any time. A "distress signal" from an aircraft in flight would be transmitted to the approach controller or to the tower controller handling landings. (typically at Kennedy the takeoffs and landings are directed by separate controllers on separate runways) Conceivably, an emergency call immediately after takeoff could be "missed" by a distracted controller, but there are two controllers and the window for this to happen is mere seconds. Even in that case, it's the pilots who's job it is to deal with the problem and get the plane back around to a runway. The controllers really don't do much in this situation except get the fire trucks ready and clear things out.

    Another thing to consider: air traffic controllers are masterful musltitaskers. They can easily hold a conversation with you while simultaneously talking to pilots. This skill always impressed me, and until I developed it myself I never understood how it was possible. Two controllers simply couldn't be THAT distracted.

    Even if they miss a call, they do hear the call, and respond "Say again?"

    In an emergency, the pilots go running through a checklist, which will include an emergency squawk code. If the controller happens to be sound asleep, this code will set off an alarm buzzer in the tower.

    -----

    This isn't to say that controllers should do this, but this was an extremely controlled, contained environment where there simply wasn't possibility for danger. The guy doesn't deserve to be canned. Maybe suspended for a week to make the public happy, along with a stern warning to all controllers to not ever do this again.
    He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear
    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

  3. #53
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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    A little more clarification on how things work:

    In addition to the pre-determined departure path, at a busy airport like Kennedy, there are several controllers in the tower at any given time. There's even more than one listening in on that particular frequency, as shown by the "position and hold" clearances. (to use position and hold, there must be a second supervising controller on-frequency as a backup)

    Even if the kid throws a tantrum, the father can override his microphone at any moment, and if the father has to step away for a moment because the kid is freaking out, there is another controller there to takeover at any time. A "distress signal" from an aircraft in flight would be transmitted to the approach controller or to the tower controller handling landings. (typically at Kennedy the takeoffs and landings are directed by separate controllers on separate runways) Conceivably, an emergency call immediately after takeoff could be "missed" by a distracted controller, but there are two controllers and the window for this to happen is mere seconds. Even in that case, it's the pilots who's job it is to deal with the problem and get the plane back around to a runway. The controllers really don't do much in this situation except get the fire trucks ready and clear things out.

    Another thing to consider: air traffic controllers are masterful musltitaskers. They can easily hold a conversation with you while simultaneously talking to pilots. This skill always impressed me, and until I developed it myself I never understood how it was possible. Two controllers simply couldn't be THAT distracted.

    Even if they miss a call, they do hear the call, and respond "Say again?"

    In an emergency, the pilots go running through a checklist, which will include an emergency squawk code. If the controller happens to be sound asleep, this code will set off an alarm buzzer in the tower.

    -----

    This isn't to say that controllers should do this, but this was an extremely controlled, contained environment where there simply wasn't possibility for danger. The guy doesn't deserve to be canned. Maybe suspended for a week to make the public happy, along with a stern warning to all controllers to not ever do this again.
    The fact that you to develop an understanding of how traffic controllers are able to multitask would indicate that the actions taken aren't completely wrong or that the feelings by people like me with limited knowledge (or none) as to what a traffic controller does aren't foolish/stupid/whatever.

    Additionally, no one can say that every controller has the ability to multitask in ways that other people in other jobs cannot. It is different for everyone.

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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    Holding your ground until the end, eh?
    "I do not claim that every incident in the history of empire can be explained in directly economic terms. Economic interests are filtered through a political process, policies are implemented by a complex state apparatus, and the whole system generates its own momentum."

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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    Quote Originally Posted by aps View Post
    The fact that you to develop an understanding of how traffic controllers are able to multitask would indicate that the actions taken aren't completely wrong or that the feelings by people like me with limited knowledge (or none) as to what a traffic controller does aren't foolish/stupid/whatever.

    Additionally, no one can say that every controller has the ability to multitask in ways that other people in other jobs cannot. It is different for everyone.
    It was just another thing to add to the discussion. Look, I've been a professional pilot for many years and am training in the air traffic control business now, so I've got a lot better picture of what happened than most of the population. After reviewing the full audio tapes, it is completely obvious to someone like me that this particular incident was done in a way that there just isn't any circumstance in which lives would be at risk.

    In a busier "peak hours" situation, or in a situation where only one controller was on frequency, or at the departure or arrival controller position, and some other scenarios, yes, a child on the frequency might conceivably have a risk involved. This particular situation, though, no.

    He shouldn't have done it, but he picked a time and manner to do it that could not affect traffic flow in any way.
    He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear
    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    This is the kind of stuff I like to think back in the 80's and early 90's would've been a human interest story that people go "awww" as the guy lets his kid get on and do this, all without causing any harm, inspiring perhaps the love of the job that the father has into the kid.

    Maybe I'm romanticizing the time of my youth though.

    Stupid in terms of todays culture, but beyond that I wouldn't say it. He was there, he was listening, he could speak up at any time, if any pilot seemed bothered by it it seems the guy could've and would've just stepped in and taken over. This is a non issue in my mind. Bad if it was a repeated thing but as a lone incident, eh.
    You should try raising your voice to a kid (just a little bit and just deserved) in front of people now days. They stare at you like you are a rapist. You can't even let your little ones climb trees at the park anymore without people looking down on you. SO WHAT! Kids fall. :p
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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    Quote Originally Posted by dirtpoorchris View Post
    You should try raising your voice to a kid (just a little bit and just deserved) in front of people now days. They stare at you like you are a rapist. You can't even let your little ones climb trees at the park anymore without people looking down on you. SO WHAT! Kids fall. :p
    Clearly you are not THINKING of the CHILDREN.
    He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear
    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    The media is freaking out. Nobody was placed in danger. Listening to the complete audio, the father even clicks in and makes several of the more complicated calls. An ATC position has more than one mic jack, usually used for training. The "instructor" jack can override the "student" jack at any time. The planes the kid was talking to already had their instructions for departure, so no actual clearances were issued besides the takeoff, which obviously occurred at the time coordinated by the Tower Dad and the departure control.

    God damn I hate the media.
    Kind of makes you wonder what kind of real stories were happening when the media was giving this non-story lots of attention.
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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    This is so stupid. From the details, it doesn't sound like anyone was really in danger at all. How do you think they train new controllers? The guy didn't deserve a suspension and definitely shouldn't be fired.
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    Re: JFK tower allowed a kid to direct air traffic

    Quote Originally Posted by roguenuke View Post
    This is so stupid. From the details, it doesn't sound like anyone was really in danger at all. How do you think they train new controllers? The guy didn't deserve a suspension and definitely shouldn't be fired.
    At one of my old jobs, I routinely had people without even a PILOTS LICENSE who I forced to FLY A PLANE.

    (flight instructor)
    He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear
    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

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