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FAA investigating after audio indicates child directed planes

NEW YORK (AP) - A child apparently directed pilots last month
from the air traffic control center at John F. Kennedy Airport, one
of the nation's busiest airports, according to audio clips. The
Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that it was
investigating.
"Pending the outcome of our investigation, the employees
involved in this incident are not controlling air traffic," the
FAA said in a statement. "This behavior is not acceptable and does
not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from all FAA
employees." The agency declined to comment beyond the statement.
Recordings from mid-February - during a weeklong winter break
for many New York schoolchildren - were posted last month on a Web
site for air traffic control-listening aficionados.
The child can be heard on the tape making five transmissions to
pilots preparing for takeoff.
In one exchange, the child can be heard saying, "JetBlue 171
contact departure." The pilot responds: "Over to departure
JetBlue 171, awesome job."
The child appears to be under an adult's supervision, because a
male voice then comes on and says with a laugh, "That's what you
get, guys, when the kids are out of school."
In another exchange, the youngster clears another plane for
takeoff, and says, "Adios, amigo." The pilot responds in kind.
The FAA said the control tower is a highly secure area for air
traffic controllers, supervisory staff and airport employees with a
need to be there. FAA spokesman Jim Peters said children of the
tower's employees are allowed to visit but would need to get
approval from the FAA first.
The union representing air traffic controllers condemned the
workers' behavior.
"It is not indicative of the highest professional standards
that controllers set for themselves and exceed each and everyday in
the advancement of aviation safety," the National Air Traffic
Controllers Association said in a statement.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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