Heathrow airport air traffic controller Adam Powis 51, has been exposed as an orchestra conductor and subsequently sacked.
Heathrow boss Tom Stacey commented:
We are withdrawing our employment with Mr. Powis forthwith. I should have examined his credentials more thoroughly before appointing him for the role of air traffic controller. It was a catastrophic blunder and an oversight for which I take full responsibility.
Mr. Powis was somewhat disingenuous in the interview. He failed to disclose to me that his entire work experience extended only to that of a classical music conductor. I’m appalled at this man’s behaviour – conducting aeroplanes with a stick, he should be ashamed. I challenged him over his actions and he responded by asking me who he had let down. I reminded him of the incident when he let two jumbo jets down.
He asked me, ‘Well, isn’t that my job? To bring planes down?’ I told him ‘Yes, but not on top of one another.’ Imagine the pilot’s terror when they spotted you holding up a sign that read, ‘piggy back, in chaps – there isn’t enough room for two landings.’ What carnage it caused!
He went on:
On another occasion Mr. Powis guided a plane in, holding a sign reading ‘reverse in on landing.’
I asked why he did it. You know what he said?
‘Well, I thought if the pilot flew backwards in it would save time on the next take off – he’d be facing the right way.’
He also claimed that he cared deeply about the welfare of the passengers. He reminded me of the time he warned a pilot of torrential rain, holding a sign up that read, ‘Close the windows now! – It’s raining in a downwards direction!’
I had to point out to him that aeroplanes do not have windows, and he said, ‘Really? Well, it’s about time you changed your policy on that – you can’t have aeroplanes full of suitcases and duty free swimming about.’
Defending himself, Mr. Powis commented:
I feel I was treated harshly by Heathrow. OK, I was a little economical with the truth in the interview, but surely you have to recognise the similarities between controlling aeroplanes and conducting an orchestra. It’s all in the hand movements, it’s a seamless transition, and the same principles apply.
As a conductor for instance, I’d wave at the violinist as if to say, ‘You on the left! pipe down a bit, and when controlling an aircraft I’d gesture to the pilot as if to say, ‘Turn left, mate! Somebody dropped a sticky toffee pudding on the right hand side of the tarmac – I don’t want it getting stuck in the wheels!’
I don’t think Heathrow valued my contribution at all. Granted my approach to air traffic control may be unconventional, but my intentions were honourable. They’re obviously not aware of my achievements as a conductor. At the peak of my powers I once kept a one hundred piece orchestra in unison with a broken arm, after wrestling Cyril Churms outside the King’s Head pub.
On another occasion I led Phil’s harmonica orchestra at Albert’s hall, using half a stick – after the dog had chewed it off while I was rehearsing in the laundry. In my entire career as a conductor, I only ever made the mistake of conducting the orchestra with my foot once!
My sacking is pure prejudice. I intend to take Heathrow to court for unfair dismissal.
The case continues.