Saturday, March 13, 2010

No Kids Allowed!

Absurd, don't you think? The incident of the kids in the control tower at JFK last week. You remember how the controllers got in trouble for it?

Preposterous, you say? Me too. Think about it: How dare they? What an abomination! A screw-up of colossal proportions that must not go unpunished and un-made-an-example-of. (Is there a better word for that?)

They let the kids talk on the radio! Ludicrous
! Kids need to be banished forever from the crucial expanses of our tower cabs. Why, their controller-parents might just decide the kids are pretty darn good at the job, and might take a coffee break, go down to the lounge and leave them working the cab alone. It could happen, you know! We've got to stop it.

This is the kind of disastrous irresponsi
bility that must be vetted out and laid open so that the knowledgeable, all-knowing, enlightened, aviation-savvy public can see and throw hot stones of indignation at. Heads must roll, say the talking heads on radio and TV.

Never mind that every accident or near-miss that ever occurred on an airport that was the tower's fault happened without a kid in the tower.

And never mind a plane with 50 trusting passengers stalled and spun out of control in Buffalo because two undisciplined, untrained, unskilled under-paid and un-rested tyros pretended to be airline pilots. That's old news. And that takes too much money to fix. Let's let that one fade. We need
something new to jump on.

Maybe I'll be jumped on next. Last week I let a kid visit the cockpit before departure. His rapid-fire questions and effusive enthusiasm caused me to suffer a lapse in judgment. I picked up the handset and let him say, “Hi Mom,” on the aircraft PA. Then I threw all caution to the wind and asked him if he would like to start a jet engine. His eyes widened. His head nodded vigorously. "Not the main jet engines," I told him, "just the little one way back in the tail―the APU."

I opened the side window so that he could hear it spool-up and showed him the start switch. He twisted the switch, heard the engine begin to whine, and watched the lite-off on the EGT gauge. My first officer sat on his side grinning and said to me, “You'll be on CNN tonight.” I looked back down the isle and saw numerous heads leaning out looking toward the cockpit.

So, what's next? I guess I'll soon be seeing a rule come out saying I can't let a kid visit my cockpit before departure. When that happens I think it'll be time for my cursum perficio.

(What about dogs?)

Quote of the post: "If the Wright Brothers were alive today Wilbur would fire Orville to reduce costs."
--Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines

Many good comments on the previous post. But one of these days I hope to piss somebody off.