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JFK air traffic controller's supervisors from LI

Glenn Duffy stands in 1998 near Newark Liberty

Glenn Duffy stands in 1998 near Newark Liberty International Airport. He was placed on administrative leave from Kennedy Airport on March 3, 2010, after it was made public he let his children communicate with pilots from the control tower. Credit: The Star-Ledger, 1998 / Noah Addis

The two supervisors on duty in Kennedy Airport's control tower last month when an air traffic controller on successive days allowed his children to talk to pilots from the tower via radio are from Long Island, aviation sources said Thursday.

One supervisor, Shawn J. Simms, 50, of Smithtown, and the controller, Glenn Duffy, 48, of Stony Brook, were placed on administrative leave by the Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday, according to sources familiar with the incident.

The other supervisor was Dana Rose Kelly, 46, of Uniondale, sources said. FAA sources said that Kelly had not been placed on administrative leave.

LISTEN: Boy gives traffic commands at JFK airport

FAA officials in New York declined to comment on whether anyone had been disciplined beyond Duffy and Simms.

Simms, at his home Thursday, at first refused to talk to a reporter. Later, in a phone interview, he said, "I'm unable to talk because of an ongoing investigation."

Simms was the supervisor working on Feb. 16 when Duffy took his son into the Kennedy tower and allowed the child to speak with pilots over air-traffic-control frequencies.

Those exchanges with pilots - there were five separate transmissions - came as planes were preparing for takeoff just after 5 p.m. that day.

"JetBlue 171 cleared for takeoff," the child was heard saying on a recording of the transmissions posted on

The next day, Feb. 17, Duffy took his daughter to work and allowed her, on two transmissions, to speak to pilots.

Kelly was the supervisor working that day, sources said.

Last night, a man who answered the door at Kelly's home identified himself as her father and confirmed that Kelly worked for the FAA but said that she wasn't home.

Duffy, who has worked at the TRACON facility in Westbury, Newark Liberty International Airport and Teterboro Airport, has not been available to comment. There were no signs of the air traffic controller or his family at their Stony Brook home Wednesday night or Thursday.

More details about actions taken by the FAA following the mid-February incidents emerged Thursday.

FAA managers drafted a memo to all controllers working at Kennedy tower, saying only certified controllers or controllers in training are allowed to speak over air-traffic-control frequencies, according to the FAA.

A source familiar with the memorandum described the employees involved in the Feb. 16 incident as receiving "counseling" after the incident and before being placed on leave.

Arlene Salac, an FAA spokeswoman in New York, confirmed that the memo "outlined FAA policies on communication on air traffic frequencies." The FAA could not address other issues, including whether anyone else was disciplined in connection with the children speaking over the frequencies, Salac said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood testified before a U.S. Senate committee Thursday and called the child-to-pilot communications "a stunning example of lack of professionalism, . . . not using common sense."

With Yamiche Alcindor and Matthew Chayes

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