Someone get these mother#$%in tykes off the air traffic control mic directing these mother(*#$%ing planes!
Eh, er, actually, it sounds more like a classic work/school scheduling mess meant an ATC controller at JFK had to bring his 5-year-old kid to work with him on February 17th, a Wednesday. And then he let his kid direct ground traffic at the airport.
The kid's dad then fed him five transmissions to planes on the taxi and runways. The kid ad-libbed the "Adios, amigos" to his Aero Mexico flight instructions himself.
Though none of the pilots or other ATC voices on the recordings seem anything but amused, NBC's Today Show was in full freakout mode, ending the segment with extended footage of the smoldering wreckage of a 1994 Aeroflot flight where the pilot let his 12-year-old son fly the plane.
I would respectfully argue that there are several orders of magnitude of difference of passenger safety risk between these two incidents. Unlike the chopped up snippets on NBC, the complete 1:13 recording [mp3, reg. req.], available at the air traffic control forum site, Live ATC, shows that the actual controller remained engaged and in control and seemed to have had his kid do only non-critical communications.
And judging by Live ATC's "Interesting Recordings" where the kid's action was first posted, pilots and air traffic controllers are doing far more distracting, far stupider-sounding things on a regular basis.
So if there's an actual "problem" here besides an instance of questionable judgment, it's the apparent lack of flexible, temporary childcare options for people in such supposedly critical jobs. But I don't see that discussion taking off anytime soon.