In a moment eerily similar to that in 2001, the FAA was forced to ground hundreds of flights, stranding thousands of passengers, in what was one of the largest computer glitches that has plagued the air traffic controllers since August 2008. The potential problems from an error in the FAA’s air traffic control systems are numerous, with virtually all of them having the potential to cause devastating effect.
The glitch in the system caused an error in the FAA’s ability to generate flight plans, including listing flights under their respective flight numbers, as well as equipment issues, runway take offs, as well as flight points and altitude checks. When that system failed, it took down the warning system the FAA has in place to alert pilots of specific flights of potential cautions or things they should be aware of in the future, such as inclimate weather and runway closures.
The problems cleared up by mid-morning, but there were several delays and backlogs that had to be updated.
The system the FAA uses is dated, and while it was highly touted for its effectiveness when first installed, it has now fallen behind due to age and being obsolete. Updates are hard to come by and with the frequency of system crashes increasing, the FAA may need to look into an overhaul to prevent disaster.
Rob @ November 19, 2009