Two pilots have been suspended for allowing a 10-year-old boy to operate cockpit controls during a commercial passenger flight in Algeria, according to local news reports.
A video of the incident broadcast by the Algerian TV channel El Bilad shows the boy, wearing a captain’s hat, a tie and a black waistcoat, sitting in the left-hand pilot’s seat.
He appears to push buttons and handle the controls, under the supervision of the first officer in the right-hand seat and the captain in the observer’s seat.
Apparently oblivious to any risks caused during the flight between Algiers international airport and Seif regional airport, one of the pilots says in the video that the boy “was very disciplined, calm and attentive. I am sure he will make a good pilot.”
The pilot says the child was able to manipulate the aircraft — a clear breach of civil aviation regulations.
The boy, an orphan whose ambition is to become a pilot, was invited into the cockpit as part of an initiative by a children’s charity, according to local reports.
When the video and pictures were released, the national airline, Air Algérie, grounded the two pilots while the incident is investigated. Before take-off, the pilots treated the boy to a tour of the plane, pointing out the mechanical workings of the wheels and examining the jet’s exterior.