Child Directs Pilots at JFK, Dad Reprimanded

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Federal Aviation Administration officials aren't laughing after an air traffic controller jokingly allowed his young son to radio directions to pilots at New York's Kennedy Airport.

The father was suspended Wednesday after audio indicated his elementary-school aged son gave instructions to several pilots waiting to take off from JFK Feb. 17.

"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.

The boy -- apparently out of school for midwinter break -- never told an aircraft how to maneuver or where to go, but did give basic directions.

"JetBlue 171 cleared for takeoff," the boy said in his first call.

His father followed up with more detailed instruction for the plane, then offered the explanation, "This is what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school."

"Over to departure JetBlue 171, awesome job!" the pilot responded.

A total of five transmissions were made by the boy. His father can be heard in the background telling him what to say.

The air traffic controller and his supervisor are now under investigation.

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