I assume by now you’ve heard about the kid that made a few calls to airplanes in the JFK tower, right? Lots of people seem to be flipping out over this, but honestly, I think it’s pretty funny. I mean, no harm was done, and I can’t imagine it could have been done either.
Don’t get me wrong. This was just a dumb thing to do. It sounds like at least one of the controllers had a kid or two on a school break, so he brought them up to the tower. That’s a huge thrill for any kid (especially dorks like me), but if that’s all that happened, I don’t think this would be plastered on the nightly news. No, it’s when the kid took over and made some transmissions to airplanes that the sh*t hit the fan.
Like I said, that was a really dumb thing to do, especially since these guys will be lucky if they somehow still have a job, but I think all these people flipping out about it just need to chill out. If you listen to the kids’ transmissions, they sounded very professional to me:
Kid: Don’t be a fool, JetBlue 171, you know what a landing like this means, you more than anybody. I’m ordering you to stay up there.
JetBlue 171: No dice, New York. I’m giving the orders and we’re coming in. I guess the foot’s on the other hand now, isn’t it, kid?
See? Harmless. Ok, so maybe that wasn’t exactly what happened. It actually was far more boring than that:
Kid: JetBlue 171 contact departure
JetBlue 171: Over to departure, JetBlue 171 . . . awesome job
Oooh, scary. The world is gonna end! As Rob Mark wrote over on JetWhine, “The kid never controlled anything. He said the words his dad told him to say, nothing more.” (You can listen to the tapes here.)
That’s the reality here. If the kid wasn’t quick enough or some sort of situation developed, you know that the controller was right there ready to take over. There wasn’t any harm here, and I really don’t think there could have been. The pilots clearly weren’t concerned.
It wouldn’t surprise me if this guy loses his job and that’s a shame, but I understand it. People are going crazy over this, so somebody’s head has to roll. He screwed up, so now he’s going to have to pay. Bummer, because I thought it was pretty damn funny.