Airplanes falling from the sky? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Why is it that the only people I ever hear talking about airplanes falling from the sky (or elevators crashing to the basement) are the ones trying to prove that the Y2k problem is a lot of bunk?

I've yet to see a prediction anywhere saying that the wings will fall off. I don't intend to travel on or around Jan 1, 2000 because I might be seriously inconvenienced, not because the planes might crash. If the FAA can't control the sky adequately, the planes will never be allowed to take off.

The few hundred aircraft actually in the air might have some trouble landing if the lights go out, but I gotta believe that most airports have backup generators - otherwise how do they handle "normal" power failures?

So, if no one is saying that aircraft will fall from the sky, why do I keep running across smug assurances that the planes will not fall from the sky? The ships won't sink into the ocean either. So what? What in hell does this nonsense have to do with Y2k?

Sorry if I appear to be ranting. I just went and read the article in the July 5 issue of the Miami Herald's Tropic magazine. In the very first paragraph, the author starts out talking about airplanes falling and elevators crashing and pacemakers killing people. This kind of stuff makes anyone who talks about serious Y2k issues sound like a lunatic.

The article is at: in case anyone wants to take a look at it.

-- Ed Perrault (, July 13, 1998


Ed, a couple of Delta pilots I know claim they won't be flying on 1/1/2000, and given that pilots are on the whole an intelligent group of people, it may be that airplanes may not be falling out of the sky unless they are pilotted by airline executives, in which case they probably will fall out of the sky.

-- Joseph Danison (, July 14, 1998.

Flight, much like power generation, is a simple process. It is the layers of control, management, and reporting that are built into these machines that will cause the problems. Most, if not all, modern airliners are wonders of automation with a very important exception, manual overrides on everything.

I do not think the planes will fall from the sky. I do not think they will be able to take-off so they may fall.


-- j (, July 14, 1998.

I think the big worry is the air traffic control, not the planes themselves. If ATC goes out of the window, the traffic controllers will of course do the best they can using manual procedures (and they have rather more practice at doing so than one might think). Nevertheless, their best may not be good enough in all cases, especially when you consider the possibility that fallback procedures may be impacted by trouble in the telecomms and power grids.

I don't intend to be flying around then!

-- Nigel Arnot (, July 15, 1998.

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