It was just some years back that general aviation’s imagination was captured by a child. Back in April 1996, Jessica Dubroff, a 7 year old pilot trainee should have been the youngest person to fly an aircraft across America when at the initial stages of her attempt to establish such record, she perished on a crash together with her flight instructor and her father. The aircraft, a Cessna 177B Cardinal apparently took off in a bad weather. That was a bit too much for a young girl where once upon in my flight experience, I only got trained on a Cessna 150G Trainer, a fairly low powered and simplified training aircraft for me, 5 times older than this girl. I haven’t even pushed my luck to attempt what lies behind heavy clouds like taking off in the rain. It does amuses me thinking how a 7 year old who is just beginning to learn to read should try her luck memorizing pre-flight checklist and emergency procedures in exchange for nursery rhymes and familiarizing the alphabet.
On a voice recording dated 17 February 2010, another child’s play had been brought to light with a child’s voice taking the place of a legitimate air traffic controller at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. As it appeared, the voice was apparently under adult supervision while the traffic instructions given to pilots were being carried. It does come to mind if another parent has been eyeing some media attention for a promising record of the youngest traffic controller to be established. If you could imagine a legitimate air traffic controller committing mistakes that caused some of the most tragic air disasters on the ground and in the air, I don’t see any place a child should have in air traffic ( and I suppose the nature of the job should prohibit child presence from then on) . Any child could do well in radio and TV for entertainment but not in air traffic where everything is unstable as the air itself. In both cases of a young pilot wannabe and an air traffic controller to be was the parent’s participation to be questioned. Had Jessica been given time to grow and ease up with her aspirations one at a time, she would have matured to be a responsible aviatrix at present. As for the aspiring traffic controller’s child, I suppose the parents will know their lesson after serving suspension. Some parent’s outlook could rather be absurd (I suppose lured by the publicity and what it could do) in that if they should persist in the same nature of child’s play with their consent in the future, they better lie on the floor face down and let their children do the spanking on their butts. “Don’t do it again, Mom, Dad!”