Pilots Support Kid Controller's Dad

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The FAA has banned tower visits, and airline pilots using New York's JFK Airport are showing support for tower controller Glenn Duffy and his supervisors after Duffy allowed his kids to issue instructions over the tower frequency in mid-February. The pilots are signing off their transmissions with "Adios," the salutation Duffy's nine-year-old son delivered in two of his transmissions Feb. 16. His twin sister took the mic a day later. According to the New York Daily News, some are amplifying their discontent with the fate that might await the controllers. "Thoughts going out to your co-worker there," the newspaper reported a Delta pilot departing Kennedy Airport was recorded on LiveATC as saying. "I think it's BS what he's going through."

However, if Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is tuned into 119.1 or 123.9 he's not paying much attention to the pilots' support. "This is a stunning example of a lack of professionalism, not following the rules, not using common sense," LaHood told a Senate committee March 4. "The air traffic controller and his supervisor are on administrative leave and we are doing a thorough and complete investigation. The idea that a young child would be directing planes in and out of an airport is totally unacceptable." Meanwhile, media reports say the kids are blaming themselves and the family is under stress from the incident.