FAA Computer Glitch Still Causing Flight Delays

Glitch is fixed, time to play catchup

Image from Flickr.

Image from Flickr.

An FAA computer glitch in the National Airspace Data Interchange Network, situated in Atlanta with a backup in Salt Lake City, has caused flight delays all over the country. The FAA computer glitch has now been fixed, but because the system was not working for several hours, flight delays built up and it could take awhile for airports to get back to running on schedule.

The automated system that feeds flight plans to air traffic controllers at the airport in Atlanta was down from about 5:15 a.m. until approximately 10:30 a.m. The FAA computer glitch caused most of the departing flights from the large international airport to be temporarily shut down, and the delays that originated there affected airports all over.

Let’s get technical about the FAA computer glitch

This is not the first time the network has had this problem. The same thing happened in August, 2008. It’s too bad all computerized processes can’t be as easy as getting same day cash loans. The New York Times explained what happened during the time when the FAA computer glitch caused all of the flight delays:

Flight plans typically consist of hundreds of alpha-numeric characters, giving the flight number, the type of equipment, the place of takeoff, and various intermediate points, with altitudes. Controllers were entering them on keyboards, not quite hunt-and-peck but not nearly as fast as a computer would transfer the data.

The FAA glitch also affected the automated system that sends notices about equipment problems and other messages to the pilots.The glitches can be blamed on the fact that much of the code for the data processing system is written in obsolete computer language. Of course, one can imagine the outrage that would take place if the country’s airports shut down for long enough to reprogram the system.

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