NEW YORK - As planes waited to take off from Kennedy Airport, the jargon-packed radio chatter between controllers and pilots was interrupted by a young boy's voice: "JetBlue 171, cleared for takeoff."
An air traffic controller who brought his son to work let the youngster read a few routine messages to pilots - and then brought in another child the next day - in an incident that amused pilots but not the Federal Aviation Administration.
Authorities suspended the controller and a supervisor Wednesday after a recording of the radio calls was posted on the Internet, then reported by a Boston television station.
"This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA's own policies, but common-sense standards for professional conduct. These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement. "This kind of behavior does not reflect the true caliber of our work force."
During his visit, the boy got to squeak out a few more instructions to pilots before signing off, including telling the crew aboard a departing Aero Mexico flight, "Adios, amigos."
On the recording, which lasts about a minute, the elementary-school-age boy appears to repeat instructions fed to him by his father. At no time does the child tell aircraft how to maneuver in flight.
(The Associated Press)