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    « 2010 National CFI of the Year and other GA Awards Recipients Named | Main | NTSB Glass Cockpit Safety Study Concludes Pilots Need More Training »


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    Matthew Stibbe

    The German thing is not unique. I flew to Troyes last year and the tower had shut down for lunch. Paris control held me for about 20m and then told me to land and call them when safely down so that they could close my flight plan. But I'm not an airliner so less of a problem for me, I guess.

    Charles LaBow

    RE: Professionalism
    Many, many, years ago, when I was a young, new pilot, I remember reading an article in the AOPA magazine about a guy flying his airplane, managing to get lost, and landing at a random airport where he walked into the office to ask where he was. The commentary from the AOPA at the time was something like, "ah, that's good, old fashioned flying at it's best." As a student at a major flight school, studying to be an aviation professional, I found the article so "unprofessional" that I dropped out of the AOPA for 20 something years, as their attitude about the incident was not the type of aviation I wanted to be associated with.

    About 10 years ago, I rejoined the AOPA. I think they have finally come to the realization that flying is a sport/business that demands high levels of professionalism at all times. Other than pilots, most people do not find airplanes and things flying overhead as amazing or fascinating like they once did, before World War II. While some pilots still think it's fun to "buzz" the field to impress their friends, most people pick-up the phone, call in a noise complaint or attend meetings trying to get the airport closed as a hazard.

    In regards to the controller/kid issue at KJFK, to me it's a non-issue, blown out of proportion by mindless reporters with a 24/7 news cycle to fill. Maybe a supervisor should talk the controller(s) involved, but no one should get fired over this. (The kid's "on-air" presence was better than many of the controllers in the Southern U.S.)

    Randy Garmon

    I think you're missing the point. What the JFK controller did had nothing to do with professionalism. Bringing a child to work at an air traffic facility is not often done. But it's not unheard of either. ATC is not one of those jobs you can have small kids hanging around and making noise....like small kids do. I brought my children to work a few times over my FAA career and it wasn't a big deal. What the JFK controller did to cross the line was allow a little kid to talk on the radio to a live aircraft. And he didn't just converse with a live aircraft, he issued several control instructions. That's when the visit became reckless. That was stupid and if you ask that controller about it in retrospect, he'll also say it was stupid. But that doesn't make him less than a professional. And comparing what he did to those two incidents overseas is like comparing apples to oranges. Not related even a little. A swat team member blowing out an airplane's window when he thought he was loaded with blanks is not being unprofessional either. It was just plain stupid because he didn't check his magazine. As far as the closed control tower in Germany, there must be more to that story than you know. The approach controller who was handling that jet should have called the tower over the landline and determined why the controller there didn't take the handoff on the jet.

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