FAA update

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

The following link has some solid information on progress at the FAA. It also demonstrates the way govt bureaucrats twist the English language. In this case, "renovation" turns out to be a simulated repair on a simulated 3083. For the newbies, the FAA was told by IBM in very specific terms that they (IBM) couldn't properly assess or fix the ancient FAA mainframes. The FAA response was at first - we will fix it ourselves (2/98), and then (11/98), we will replace the mainframes. Now (2/99) they are saying - "well, if we can't get them all replaced, then we will use "renovated" 3083's. They are totally clueless and, IMHO, there will be a midair collision or a runway accident in the next 12 months due to their ineptitude.


-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), February 03, 1999



Unfortunately, the link crashed before the FAA did. Care to post the actual URL, or anything else that might be helpful?

Drew, who flew his first Cessna at age 7

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), February 03, 1999.

Hmm, tried it after your msg and it worked fine for me. But, here is the URL


-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), February 03, 1999.

The following is off c.s.y2k as a reply from Cory H on this subject. I thought it was worth posting for those who don't lurk on the rawer newsgroups. ==============

Re: The FAA vs. IBM (kiyoinc@ibm.XOUT.net (cory hamasaki), Tue 19:43)

Phinias, I don't know how closely you've been following this story. I've tried to but there is a huge lack of solid information. Huge.

Part of the problem is you have to know too many different factoids to assemble the reality.

On Tue, 2 Feb 1999 22:32:48, phinias_t_phoobar@my-dejanews.com wrote: --------------- > We all know the story of the FAA's host system being backboned by the ancient > and wobbly IBM 3083. We all know that the FAA is phasing out the 3083 and has

The 3083 is a monadic variant of the 3081. 3083s wheeze out about 5 S/370 MIPS, in contrast to the incredible 2+ MIPS from my deskside S/370.

The 3083 is a wonder, it's a wonder that the thing runs at all. 3 phase power, cooled by chilled water circulating through TCMs (Thermal Conduction Modules), The working fluid within the TCM is pressurized helium. Blockmultiplexor channels, no ESCON. XA or S/370. Fans, pumps,things that buzz and moan. ----------------- > done so already in one (only) of its 20 host facilities. We also can read > between the lines and figure out that the FAA is not going to be able to > renovate all their host systems by December 31. In fact, in case you don't > like to read between the lines, or find it cumbersome or tricky to do, the > FAA itself has admitted that they will not have all their 3083 hosts > converted on time. Unfortunately for the FAA and its customers (that's you), > IBM, the designer and manufacturer of the FAA's hosts, says that those > systems cannot be assessed for Y2K, let alone remediated with assurance. ------------------- The public statement was that IBM suspected a Y2K problem in some of the support logic, maybe the service processor, maybe an embedded that controls the internal plumbing.

I've never "owned" a 3083. I've been a VM user of machines of that vintage. Those machines had the first attempts of several serviceability aids, remote diagnostics, remote operation including IPL,and builtin environmental monitoring. Some of these may have Y2K considerations.

The operating systems of that era had multiple Y2K problems, SVC-11, VSAM, the compilers.

As the operating systems and hardware are intimately interconnected, IBM's shyness may not have been strictly hardware driven. They may havebeen OS shy too.

----------------- > This means what? It means that according to IBM, the FAA is going to go into > the year 2000 with systems that are at high risk to fail. Kerplop.

----------------- Maybe, maybe not. Nothing that IBM has said publicly has allowed me to identify the specific problem. ----------------- > Of course, the FAA vehemently denies IBM on this issue. Hmmmm. They know more > than IBM knows about its own systems, apparently.

----------------- Maybe, maybe not. Nothing that the FAA (Jane Gravy-train, Ray so-Long) has said gives me any confidence in their ability to identify and fix the problem, or manage the renovation, whatever "manage" means. Does itmean saying loudly, "Here's the mission statement, the planes will fly." Last year, they said they'd be replacing the 3083's with G3's, which are early model 9672's, junkers by 1999 standards. The G3 is about as powerful as a PeeCee file server with a couple Pentium-Pro 400s.

----------------- > So, I wuz thinking again (please, stand back) and I figured something out > about the FAA, flying in the new year, and all that it means to the airline > industry and to the economy of the world. It goes something like this: Who > are you going to believe in this case, the designer and manufacturer of the > complex system, or the government agency that uses it? ----------------- The jury is out on this one. You non-geeks out there, you think the X-files is a woooOOOooo weird-ass story. That's nothing compared to the FAA and IBM, the 3083 and the G3, Ray "I'm a PhD from the school of hard knocks" Long, mixed in there are some retired IBM screwdriver-geeks who do microcode. Their motto, "we program with solder."

On this idiotic kluge of cluelessness, self-delusion, pomposity detonating, rests the air transport system of the civilized world.

I just want to grab them and shake some sense into them too, slap them around, make em wear bozo the clown outfits to their management meetings. How did we get into this mess?

cory hamasaki 332 Days, 7,972 Hours, less than 11 months. http://www.kiyoinc.com/current.html times running out, I'm worried. 

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), February 03, 1999.


I tried it again after your second message, and I whizzed right through. Got both parts; thanks.

One point about Cory's note, though: he mentioned PC server with a "couple of Pentium Pro 400s." This would be interesting, particularly in light of the fact that no such chip exists. Pentium II 400s, yes, but that's a different animal. No Pro was ever made above the 200 (there was the 150, 180 & 200, and Intel's recently announced 333 upgrade chip). Probably a minor point, anyway.

Eagle-eye Drew, who bought a Pentium Pro 200 in February 1996 & still flies Cessnas with his Dad :)

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), February 03, 1999.


Those TIME stories looked good to me- I posted them on our site. Thanks for pointing them out.

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), February 03, 1999.

....and Petey De now says he'll spend New Years eve in the air. Wonder if he's seen this article.

-- abcdGoldfish (mnoGoldfish@osar.com), February 03, 1999.


The article you posted a link to says the FAA will have its mission- critical systems ready by June 30, 1999. Hmm...

This article from a January 15, 1999 story on the FAA contains the following quote with a different date:

http://www.star- telegram.com/news/doc/1047/1:COMP68/1:COMP68011599.html

"We are absolutely confident we will have everything ready," said Paul Takemoto, an FAA spokesman. "And that's not just false boasting."

The FAA intends to have 655 computer systems with Millennium Bug glitches renovated and tested by the end of September, Takemoto said. If that happens, it would be a welcome contrast to previous computer- related blunders that have dogged the FAA.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 03, 1999.

Don't count on Cory NOT having seen a Pro 400 as a proto or DoD 1-off (err 5 or 6 off). remember this IS the guy with a PC running MVS, JES-n (whatever they're up to) sitting at his desk.


-- Chuck, night driver (rienzoo@en.com), February 04, 1999.


Well, I doubt even a prototype Pro 400 was ever built (they quickly abandoned the Pro architecture after the 200 in favor of the II, due to the cost of the on-chip cache, and also because they were moving the MMX instructions into the chip, thus creating the II we have today). More likely than not it was just a slip on Cory's part. But you're right, if anyone would have seen one, it would be somebody like Cory...

-- Drew Parkhill/CBN News (y2k@cbn.org), February 04, 1999.

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