Software snag grounds L.A. flights
- By Paula Shaki Trimble
- Oct 20, 2000
Air traffic controllers had to ground hundreds of flights headed for Los
Angeles International Airport Thursday morning after new software loaded
overnight crashed the main computer system.
Controllers at Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center reverted
to a manual backup computer system to monitor air traffic coming into LAX
after they discovered at 6:58 a.m. EDT that new software had shut down the
host computer system, an FAA spokesman said.
The host system is the base for the modernization of the nation's 20
air route traffic control centers. It processes radar surveillance data
and flight plans, displays it on controllers' screens and provides alerts
of potential conflicts.
The backup system made it more difficult for controllers to hand off
aircraft moving from sector to sector, but controllers still received radar
data, the FAA spokesman said.
Controllers fixed the problem by reloading the old software onto the
host system, the spokesman said.
Service into the Los Angeles airport was partially restored at 11:15
a.m. EDT and fully restored by 1 p.m. EDT. About 84 aircraft normally land
at the airport per hour.
A similar problem in 01/at the Washington Air Route Traffic Control
Center in Leesburg, Va., affected more than 300 flights. In that case, a
manual restart of the host system held up a flight plan from Raleigh-Durham,
N.C., just as it was about to be printed. Because the printer did not respond
to the flight plan, the flight plan got stuck in the buffer and backed up
the transmission of other flight plans to the printer.
The details of the Los Angeles system failure will be investigated.