The week of February 15 was a vacation week for many New York City school children. So on Tuesday and Wednesday, two city elementary school students went to work with their Dad. They saw how their father makes his living and, under Dad's watchful eye, even got to talk to some of his customers.
That would be a great story of parent-child togetherness, hardly worth a second glance at a busy national news desk unless the editor wanted to close with a short human-interest piece.
But there was one hitch: Dad was an air-traffic controller at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. And his customers were pilots in the cockpits of outbound commercial jets. That changed everything.
Air traffic controller Glenn Duffy, 48, had taken his nine-year-old twins to work on two separate days that week, and on each day let the child transmit a few routine instructions to departing flights. The incident came to the media's attention thanks to a person listening to control tower conversations on www.LiveATC.net.
And what exactly did these kids say? Here's a recap of one child's calls on February 17th:
Around 5:50 PM "AirMex 403 cleared for takeoff."
A few minutes later "AirMex 403 contact departure " adios!"
Around 6:57 PM "JetBlue 195 contact departure " adios amigo!"
Around 7:31 PM "JetBlue 171 cleared for takeoff."
A few minutes later "JetBlue 171 contact departure."
That's it: five routine calls, under supervision, in an hour an forty-five minutes. The pilots certainly seemed to enjoy talking to their young interlocutors: "Awesome job!" one told a youngster. "Adios, amigo," said another. One pilot told the dad, "I wish I could bring my kids to work!"
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