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JFK ATC in the news...

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JFK ATC in the news...

Old 4th Mar 2010, 08:38
  #101 (permalink)  

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I don't believe there was any risk to safety whatsoever, but in today's world of anal security + health + safety rules, it was ill advised and unprofessional.

Personally, when I attended my local airport as a 15 year old kid for a week of 'work experience', I was allowed to make similar transmissions under guidance and following a 'script' from the controller looking after me. Some might say they were the best transmissions I have ever made
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 08:42
  #102 (permalink)  
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I'm afraid this incident is going to lead to the end of aviation as we know it.

Pilots are happily following the instructions of a small child on the radio, what reaction would they have to someone "hijacking" the frequency and giving all sorts of plausible instructions, all designed to make them crash into each other? There is no way to verify the authenticity of ATC instructions, the potential consequences are horrific.

The only solution as I see it is to get the instructions written down, with an authentication code, sealed in an envelope and then couriered to the aircraft. The pilots check the authentication code and then comply with the instruction. It's going to be tough, but what other choice do we have?

I'm sure that the same company that provide the security search staff could provide a large stock of intelligent, reasonable, reliable couriers.

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Old 4th Mar 2010, 08:48
  #103 (permalink)  
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I've read this thread and seen several posts of your where you tell people to get their facts right and to get real.

Maybe you should take a note of your own advice, as in your very first post you write:
Trainee ATCOs have no licence

May I suggest you get your facts right, irespective of whatever your views are on the subject of the original post.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 08:51
  #104 (permalink)  
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Why the big fuss? This happens all the time in France. I have long ago lost count of the number of times I have been controlled by a young french schoolgirl, pig tails, short skirt, sweet innocent voice.....never heard any complaints about them.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 09:01
  #105 (permalink)  
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We all know that there will be a controller sat plugged in right next to the kid. Not as if the controller just says 'can you just take care of these couple planes for me whilst I go take a p**s?'
Lighten up.

Courier the instructions to aircraft? You on drugs? Jeez. Any pilot who just accepts a clearance without giving it just a bit of thought might not be the best person to be flying an aircraft.

IMHO, this is blown out of proportion. We get trainee controllers who come on and give us instructions, and the guy training them jumps straight in when the trainee makes a mistake. We know he's made a mistake, but the Trainer isn't just gonna sit back and see what happens is he??
Actually, maybe some kids might be better than some of the controllers we have!
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 09:11
  #106 (permalink)  
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They can't do anything but come down hard on him. If the incident passed without repercussion, it's logical to assume it would be repeated - if not by this particular chap.

You don't trash an expensively licensed person for something like this. Well YOU might (which is why you aren't a manager! )
First, it's not rubbish. If you could drive at 120mph, get pulled over by the police, then let off, you'd do it again. Human nature.

Second, you falling for blambert's obviously sarcastic post speaks volumes.

I'm not saying he should get fired. I never did. I'm presenting a counter-viewpoint to all those trying to say he should suffer no consequences etc.
As someone else said just now, it's all about the fact that this guy felt the rules didn't apply to him. In isolation, I don't really see how his actions were dangerous in a practical sense. They were dangerous however in the 'setting a precedent' sense. All those advocating no repercussions for allowing a child in the arena would undoubtedly have been saying the same thing about the Aeroflot flight - if it wasn't for the minor hiccup that it crashed.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 09:25
  #107 (permalink)  
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Well, it's the first time I've been able to understand US ATC transmissions. Keep him on.

Everyone knew what was going on & the situation was always under control. Gross media hysteria (as usual).

Nobody is allowed to use their professional judgement these days about anything whatsoever.
Sorry mate, the rules say can't....not allowed..... that's all you ever hear.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 09:36
  #108 (permalink)  
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When learning to fly for 10 years below the age of 17, back then, meant talking on the radio in the circuit pattern without a student license or a radio license, but under the guidance of my flying instructor. Only after the 17th birthday was I sent solo and again without a radio license, but now holding a student pilot license at least. The radio license was required for the PPL which came a little later. It is therefore possible to talk on the R/T without a license, but for obvious reasons.

This JFK matter is no big deal, although quite laugh at least, but where do you draw a line as to when someone can speak on the radio, as you can do it at 15 or 16 when learning to fly? And that is without a student pilot license, in fact still too young for any license.

No doubt there was no loss of control at all. As an experienced JFK heavy driver now, the kid was actually quite clear and calm on the radio, which is much more pleasant from the normal fast slang that is said on that frequency.

"Awesome job dude"
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 09:36
  #109 (permalink)  
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Anotherthing, I was generalising. it was certainly the case (and in many countries, continues to be the case) for more years than I care to remember. It may well be that in these more recent & bureaucratic times some authorities have begun to introduce a form of training licence or certificate. Bottom line though is that the coach takes full responsibility for the trainees action. The kid was not controlling for God's sake. He said a few (prompted) words on the r/t, that's all. There was never a safety issue. The true culprit in all this are todays live ATC streams available to the public on the web and the advent of U-tube. What is the legality of recording an ATC transmission and airing it on a public site? No one has questioned that.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 09:46
  #110 (permalink)  
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Two kids chatting

I read a bit more, the ATC let the little sister age 9 chat the next day.

An air-traffic controller put passengers in double jeopardy by letting his 9-year-old son direct planes at JFK - and repeating the stunt with the boy's twin sister the next day, probers said Wednesday night.
Controller Glenn Duffy was already in trouble for allowing his son to give instructions to pilots preparing for take-off on Feb. 16.
The Federal Aviation Administration then discovered Duffy pulled the boneheaded move again with the boy's twin sister, sources said.
The 48-year-old Long Island dad and a supervisor have been suspended and will likely lose their jobs, sources told the Daily News.
"This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA's own policies, but common sense standards for professional conduct," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said.
"These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable."
Duffy apparently brought his pint-sized wingmen to work during the recent winter school break - and then let them chat with pilots at the nation's sixth-busiest airport.
About 8 p.m. on Feb. 16, his elementary-school-aged son spoke five times to pilots operating four separate planes.
"JetBlue 171 cleared for takeoff," the boy says in his first call.
His dad then gives more detailed instructions to the pilot and announces: "Here's what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school."
In a second exchange, the boy instructs the same JetBlue flight to contact departure controllers.
The pilot replies: "Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job!"
Regulators weren't so amused. They said the move endangered hundreds of passengers.
The FAA said the supervisor on duty on Feb. 17 - when Duffy brought another child to work - has not been disciplined. The investigation is ongoing.
No one was home last night at Duffy's home on a private road in Stony Brook, L.I. He could not be reached for comment.
News that Duffy - a former president of the Newark chapter of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association - was on the verge of getting fired was met by disgust by retired pilots.
"I can assure you that at no time was the safety of the public compromised," said Ross (Rusty) Aimer, 65, a former United Airlines pilot with nearly 40 years of experience.
"This was really a non-event. It's almost like putting your child in your lap in an empty parking lot for the first time and letting him hold onto the wheel. The air-traffic controller was in command the whole time."
Travelers at Kennedy Airport offered a vastly different view.
"Even if there were professionals around, it seems a bit irresponsible," said Maura Kilfeather, a 26-year-old flight attendant. "I could see him coming to observe, but a kid talking to pilots? Anything could go wrong."

Read more: JFK air traffic controller let not one, but TWO kids direct planes: officials
JFK air traffic controller let not one, but TWO kids direct planes: officials
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 10:06
  #111 (permalink)  
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This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA's own policies, but common sense standards for professional conduct," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said.
US authorities, not least the FAA threw common sense out of aviation a long time ago. Talk about throwing stones from a glasshouse.

I find the number of idiots writing on this thread appalling. Can the SLF know-it-alls stay away please?
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 10:15
  #112 (permalink)  
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OK, I've changed my mind on this one. Now that a "26 year old flight attendant" has the last word over a pilot with 40 years experience.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 11:08
  #113 (permalink)  
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Can the SLF know-it-alls stay away please?
Jeez... the arrogance is beyond belief !

Do you really think that only pilots are qualified to comment on this matter ?
It's nothing technical and requires no knowledge of ATC procedures. It's a matter of principle and of observing regulations put there for a reason.

Oh, forgive me, I forgot my place there for a moment. I'm not entitled to have an opinion, being just a lowly serf. Forgive my impudence Lord Oceancrosser.

From my perspective, I find the number of pilots (thankfully not all !) who are happy to endorse regulation infringement (however minor), 'appalling'. You either play by the rules or you don't. There is no 'bending of'.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 11:10
  #114 (permalink)  
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Ok, So in the eyes of the bed wetters on here, at 12 when I began taking flying lessons and had control of the aircraft sat next to an instructor who could intervene must also have been dangerous and irresponsible etc, as where the occasions when I used the radio during the course of such flights.

In the event that you hold that view, keep it to yourself. I shall not lower myself by responding to the pot-shots.

The real problem we have here is that this industry is being destroyed in a two pronged attack:

On the one hand we have the kind of knee-jerk reaction that leads to totally pointless regulation for regulations sake. That at best removes our discretion as professionals and at worst makes it impossible to operate.

On the other hand we get the kind of reaction like this, and cockpit doors where we'll end up with the industry in the proverbial scrapyard because we failed to inspire a generation.

One thing thats been asked for and not provided here is the letter of the law that has been broken. Given that I am a Pilot and not a Controller, I'm not overly familiar which is why I trust their judgement as professionals in their own right.

Bring on that petition.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 11:17
  #115 (permalink)  
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An air-traffic controller put passengers in double jeopardy by letting his 9-year-old son direct planes at JFK - and repeating the stunt with the boy's twin sister the next day, probers said Wednesday night.
Controller Glenn Duffy was already in trouble for allowing his son to give instructions to pilots preparing for take-off on Feb. 16.
I have a problem with the phraseology there. (Besides the presumption that passengers were in jeopardy.) He might've already made the first error that got him in trouble, but he wasn't "in trouble" until the story broke two weeks later.

The saying "Rules are for the guidance of wise men, and the blind obedience of fools" is rather popular amongst PPruners.
Wow. Great saying, and it really cuts to the heart of the issue of the "rules violation" aspect of this. (I don't spend a whole lot of time here, but I'm married to an ATCO, and these kind of stories always draw me here to see what the professional aviation community is thinking.)

Fine, but if you do decide to ignore the rules then you should expect to take responsibility for your actions. This controller will soon be looking for a new job - I hope they feel it was worth it.
I assume you mean that you should expect to take responsibility for the consequences arising from your actions. I don't disagree, but the fact of the matter is that, had the media not gotten wind of this, the consequences would have been nil. Controller Duffy may well lose his job, but that will come as a result of the media frenzy over this, and nothing else.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 12:06
  #116 (permalink)  
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Please guys, lighten up and grow up. Donkeys years ago there used to be a TV series here called Jim'll Fix-It. Anybody could write in with a dream they'd like to fulfil. One was a 12 year old girl who wanted to be a controller. They showed it, prime time on a Saturday night as she "controlled" Speedbird 1 (Concorde) from it's arrival in London airspace until the hand off to the approach director.

All this is just a typical, media hyped over-reaction.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 12:24
  #117 (permalink)  
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The biggest issue to me is tha fact that a qualified controller judged it acceptable to break FAA, and therefore federal laws, by allowing an unlicensed person to transmit on RT.

RT which is recorded and stored as a legal requirement (as any ATCO or pilot knows).

So not only was it ill advised, but very poor judgement from someone who has to use judgment every day.

Not exactly professional nor clever, irrespective of your individual thoughts on the rules. Sounds like he was asking for trouble.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 13:04
  #118 (permalink)  
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Hi all,
I'm an Undergraduate Aero Engineer so apologies for this possibly obvious question:

When training to become an ATC what qualifications are required before you first transmit "live" on a ground/tower etc. frequency?

The reason I ask is that in the UK you must have a licence to operate almost any VHF equipment (for example Marine Band or Amateur Radio) however for training purposes you may, under the supervision of someone who holds a current valid qualification (not necessarily an instructors certificate) make transmissions of 3-5 sentences.
Is this true in the world of ATC of do you have to have a "trainee qualification" before you utter a syllable?

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Old 4th Mar 2010, 13:27
  #119 (permalink)  
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Wow, never would have thought an event like this would trigger so many (and so highly emotional) reactions

I personally think people should not be so surprised by this..this kind of stuff happens every day.

A few years ago I was an assistant ATCO at ATC The Netherlands (without an R/T license) when the ATCO next to me went for a smoke and casually asked me if I could clear the Easyjet that was bound to make contact to climb to FL240. So when the pilot called ATC I simply cleared him to FL240 and that was it! I was nervous like hell but it was a great experience.

I really hope this guy does not lose his job over this..he should maybe be reprimanded or something like that, but to be fired of this would not benefit anyone.
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Old 4th Mar 2010, 13:34
  #120 (permalink)  
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You either play by the rules or you don't. There is no 'bending of'.
If we have to go down the "zero tolerance" route then I suggest that anyone who has ever broken a motor vehicle speed limit has placed lives in greater danger than this controller did on this day.

"Zero tolerance" is a dangerous weapon in a supposedly free society. I know it is fashionable these days, as it is seen as tough and uncompromising. In reality it should be reserved for situations where law and order has completly broken down (the situation for which the phrase was originally coined). In all other situations, response should be measured, considered, and fair. All qualitiies that require personal judgement and so these days seem in very short supply.
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