FAA Has Big Problems With Air Traffic Control System

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

Per request, posting at top level.

There always seems to be another *Big Sigh* waiting in the Y2K wings.


Federal Computer Week
APRIL 12, 1999

STARS delayed again; FAA seeks tech patch

BY COLLEEN O'HARA (ohara@fcw.com)


One of the Federal Aviation Administration's largest modernization projects appears to be on the rocks, with the agency scrambling to field interim systems as delays mount and a new report indicates significant performance problems.

The $1 billion Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS), awarded in September 1997 to Raytheon Co., is intended to replace the antiquated systems that process and display air traffic data at Terminal Radar Approach Control (Tracon) facilities, which control traffic in the 50-mile radius around the nation's airports.

The FAA originally planned to install the first system, an early version of STARS, at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in June 1998 but delayed delivery by nine months to give the agency and Raytheon an opportunity to work out design problems that concerned air traffic controllers and technicians.

However, the FAA apparently plans to delay the system further, with the Washington, D.C., airport now scheduled to take delivery by Dec. 31 of an early display configuration version of STARS, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

With many airports not scheduled to receive the upgrade until a much later date, the FAA plans to deliver a "patch" to airports that work with the oldest equipment, according to NATCA. The interim system, developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. and dubbed Ollie, provides a color display and an easy-to-use keyboard that simply plugs into the existing Tracon systems.

Ollie is part of a new STARS deployment approach that the FAA and the controllers have at least conceptually agreed on, said NATCA president Michael McNally. This approach would include placing Ollie at "some critical facilities," such as the New York Tracon, that need new displays because current equipment is failing and replacement parts are not available, McNally said.

A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman confirmed that Ollie is under consideration by the FAA as an interim solution to replace aging displays until the full STARS system is ready.

The new plan also would involve rolling out an "early display configuration" of STARS to sites with low traffic activity and then gradually develop the system in the field to obtain full STARS capability, McNally said. The early version is not the complete STARS system but rather a color display and workstation linked through an interface to the current computer system.

"STARS is a disaster," Michael Fanfalone, the national president of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists, said in a prepared statement. "Despite spending years, and millions, on its development, the [FAA] now acknowledges it cannot be used in high-density airports." PASS represents technical and aviation systems specialists.

The FAA will announce this month the airports that will receive equipment and what that equipment will be. An agency spokesman, however, would not comment on the new deployment approach, including plans for Ollie as detailed by McNally. The agency also is expected to release a new STARS schedule this month.

The FAA and NATCA said they are still committed to STARS.

Rep. Constance Morella (R-Md.), chairwoman of the Technology Subcommittee of the House Science Committee, is "frustrated and disappointed in the continuing [STARS] delay," according to her press secretary, Jonathan Dean. "She's been working to push FAA on this project and get it up and working," Dean said, adding that Morella may request another hearing on STARS, although none is scheduled at this point.

Air traffic controllers have been pushing the FAA to field Ollie since 1997. But their interest in the display system has been heightened by a new report which shows that STARS actually operates more slowly than the antiquated equipment being used by controllers.

"We don't want new equipment that is less than what we have now," said Andy Acres, Washington National Airport's STARS representative for NATCA. "Ollie is quick and easy to understand. Of the controllers that have seen Ollie, you won't find anyone who doesn't like it. There are two Ollie [radar] scopes out there now that could be installed at Washington National tomorrow."

The report, based on a test conducted last month by Lockheed Martin at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center and witnessed by the FAA and Raytheon, showed that STARS' response times were generally double those of the current display and sometimes are "significantly beyond the FAA's specifications" for operational safety models. The FAA stressed that the test involved the early display configuration, not the full STARS system.

"In developing this early display configuration and in meeting requests for changes that controllers and technicians wanted, we encountered some response times [that] were slow," the FAA spokesman said. "We're working with Raytheon to get those response times back to specification." Full STARS is designed to be and is faster than the current system, he added.

Raytheon said in a press statement that "the report presented a picture that was inaccurate and misleading with regard to the system's speed or response times." In fact, Raytheon maintains, STARS is faster than systems currently in use and has been "successfully tested and used in airports around the world."

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999


See also thread ...

FAA successfully completes Y2K test

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id= 000hry

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

Decided a few months ago we won't be flying for quite a long while. Watching the wing waffle will be one of the curioser aspects of the Y2K countdown. Thanks, Diane :-)

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), April 12, 1999.

I can't wait to learn "What's wrong with this picture?" So,. . .someone with the time/expertise/critical thinking skills,...please "'splain it to me!"

I have to scoot. . .will check back later.

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 12, 1999.

Here's another hide scrap to chew on:

[ For Educational Purposes Only ]

Fear not for flying into 2000 as you won't know where the dangers are

A list of no-go airports, whose flight system computers could fail as a result of the millennium bug, is being compiled by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

However, it has been announced that the #13m report will not be made available to the public until after the millennium.

An IATA spokesman said that to publish the list of unsafe destinations before the date change would be "scaremongering".

But, David Learmount, operations and safety editor on Flight International magazine, believes that the public does not need to see the list. "The idea is not to inform the public, but to let their own membership, the airlines that is, know which destinations are reliable."

He says that people flying during the date change should not worry about crashing, but delays - which are the likelier outcome of any computer failures. "Danger is not the issue, delay is. There is quite a high probability that there will be considerable delays during that time."

Scaremongering = revealing important vital information that could save your life. Naughty. Why would somebody rightfully feel they were entitled to information that could save their life? These out-of-control demanding weeples ...

"Delays" ROTFLMAOLOL "Excuse us, you'll be staying here in Cameroon for the next 11 years. Please sign in at the displaced person refugee tent to your left -- a govt helper will relieve you of your possessions. Next?"

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), April 12, 1999.

National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) website ...


The following articles are in the March Air Traffic Controller (down the page)


Facing the Year 2000 Problem the Right Way

By now readers of this site have had the opportunity to read the Memorandum concerning Contingency Plans that was written by Dan Thorson in conjunction with Criss Manoldi Facility Representative at Denver Center. That fine document has made its way around the country and is receiving a great deal of attention. As an example, Dan and Criss have already come to Washington to brief the General Accounting Office (GAO) at the GAO's request.

Several members of the media have also asked for and been granted interviews, and when Congress considers the problems with Y2K, most of the members will have had access to the Memorandum.

If you have not yet read the Memorandum it says in a nutshell that there is a great probability that equipment may fail in the future that will require one air route traffic control center to assume some or all of another center's airspace. Contingency plans being developed by individual centers are totally inadequate to handle such an emergency. Testing of basics such as radar and radio coverage into adjacent airspace has not been done. And terminal contingency plans are poor to non-existent.

Administrator Garvey has given much of her attention to the Y2K problem, and if one can believe her advisors, the problems will be fixed in time to avert a catastrophic failure in the system. Does that mean that a solid, comprehensible and workable contingency plan is not needed?

It certainly does not. As stated by John Koskinen, the White House Year 2000 chairman, "it is crucial to have contingency plans at federal agencies, even if they are not used." Nowhere is that statement more true than at FAA, and its air traffic control system.

See also ...

Public Safety & Tech

http:// home.natca.org/natca/publicsafety/

NATCA Testimonies and Speeches

http://home.natca.org/natca/legisupdatespublic/ testimonies/default.html

NATCA Voice - national newsletter for National Air Traffic Controllers Association members, and for aviation professionals and enthusiasts, and union members in general.


Search The NATCA Voice Web Site under the links area

http:// www.natcavoice.org/javatree/linksframe.htm

Year 2000 links

http:// www.natcavoice.org/natca/y2k/y2k-links.htm

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.


Cameroon? As in "Beef Jerky Time!?!" Hey, it FITS. . .:)

-- FM (vidprof@aol.com), April 12, 1999.

Yep, FM ;-} Now in Cameroon, a nice tourista destination, there's a volcano erupting and mass evacuations and govt tent cities sprouting in the ash ... lava flowing very wide & thick towards the water ... TOAST !!

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), April 12, 1999.

Don't you just love it, Koskinen, when you see a user group like the National Air Traffic Controllers Association say "terminal contingency plans are poor to non-existent?"

Is our Air Traffic system REALLY Y2K ready yet? Like it says in the papers?

(Ya just can't manage to "spin" everyone, can ya?)

Who has the "hot seat" now?


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

See the book "Software Runaways" by Robert L. Glass for a good long background review of software and computer failures at FAA, Denver Airport, and other management coverups and catastrophies.

This story - and the government "spin" and mismanagement and coverup's of computer programming failures at FAA, and airports in general - are NOT new.

They have been done before, sometimes by these same people in the news today. By this same administration.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 12, 1999.

Well now that's progress!

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), April 12, 1999.

Thanks for the more "realistic" assessment of the situation. Although on the TV news last night they were broadcasting stories that the FAA is Y2K compliant and ready for 2000 because of the insignificant test in Denver on Saturday, it is nice to see that at least someone is telling the truth.

-- @ (@@@.@), April 12, 1999.


Most people aren't used to digging for the truth snippets, nor where to find them.

The pieces are always out there.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a world where truth, beauty and tolerance were valued? Above greed and gain?


Guess we just have to start with our own corner of the world, and ripple outwards.

*Another Sigh*


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

Great to see the FAA is still right on schedule - to be 0% compliant by the end of the year!

-- Brooks (brooksbie@hotmail.com), April 12, 1999.

*Heavy Sigh*

Another story about STARS was posted previously. While it may be indicative of the FAA capabilities in general, the STARS replacement apparently has nothing to do with the Y2k remediation effort.

The STARS system is apparently replacing the Automated Radar Terminal Systems, or ARTS.

http://www. faa.gov/aua/old_news/sum98article17.html

However, don't see any indication that ARTS has to be replaced for Y2k. In fact, ARTS is one of the systems that was tested in Denver this past weekend:

http://www.faa.gov/apa/ pr/pr.cfm?id=741

"Participating systems include the Host computer, which drives controller displays at high altitude, en route centers; the Automated Radar Terminal System (ARTS) IIIE, a computer that drives controller displays at large TRACONs, and ARTS IIA, a computer that drives controller displays at small to medium-sized TRACONs. "

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 12, 1999.

Excuse me Hoffmeister,

But my understanding with Federal systems is the mission-critical ones are either being remediated or replaced.

Why do you think this is NOT Y2K related?


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.


If it doesn't look like a duck and doesn't quack like a duck, it seems pretty reasonable to assume that it's not a duck. Of course, it might be a duck in disguise.

The Federal Government is doing a lot more than y2k remediation. Remediation projects are only a very very tiny percentage of what they do all the time.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), April 12, 1999.


Not all systems need to be remediated or replaced. Only those with Y2k problems.

The original hint was the story itself, where the DC airport isn't scheduled to receive the replacement until Dec 31st. Call me a trusting fool, but I don't believe even the government is that clueless.

But again, the main points were the ARTS systems that were part of the Y2k test this past weekend, with ARTS being the system STARS is replacing. If ARTS was successfully Y2k tested, it tells me it doesn't have to be replaced for Y2k.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 12, 1999.

Further - if any FAA computer system or program is NOT critical to the success of getting the system to run next year - whether that potential failure is Y2K-related, or simple over-aged equipment that must be replaced to avoid electrical failure - the FAA has absolutely NO business replacing, changing, or modifying it. Any component that must be replaced now, before year 2000, IS a Y2K problem. regardless of whether the potential failure is software-related, operating system-related, simple date-related, or electrical "wear-out" related.

ANY computer changes not directly affecting the life and safety of the public should be "frozen" by the FAA - or the failure of the system-wide repair, testing and replacement of components that ARE affected by simple electronic "burnout" and by potential year 2000 failures is threatened.

Drastically threatened. If the FAA is incpable of understanding the effect of "adding" changes to a late, technically complex project affecting lives, they have no business in the programming management business. And no business controlling aircraft.

This Denver test does not actually verify any FAA control systems are working yet - or even "installed" anywhere - yet. It tests one solution in one place in one computer that isn't even considered reliable enough to operational yet. It shows that they have a solution that can be installed elsewhere - if conditions are the same as in the Denver area station where it was tested.

Good - it's progress.

I remain able to be convinced the FAA will be ready some time in the future - once its entire US network is operational and tested. Until then - no.

And if it isn't reliable after installation - and the FAA have tried twice recently to "force" new changes into use that have had to be recalled - and I'll probably base that decision on reports from inside the industry and air traffic users as well as the FAA administrators' public statements - then I'll cancel my reservations now made for December.

Hard decision. But the alternative is .....

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 12, 1999.

Flint commented:

"The Federal Government is doing a lot more than y2k remediation. Remediation projects are only a very very tiny percentage of what they do all the time. "

I assume that you are talking about computer work. If the Federal Government IS doing a lot more computer work than just y2k then they better darn well be FINISHED with ALL of there y2k work soon. That includes the 69,000 non mission critical systems.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 12, 1999.

Diane, thanks for this article and for you tremendous efforts to bring quality information to this forum.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 12, 1999.


BTW, your first reference is dated 11-Aug-98 11:49 4K and discusses an old article referring to deployment of STARS equipment.

... Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) hardware deliveries for Washington National Airport, Bostons Logan Airport, and Eglin Air Force Base in Florida are on schedule, according to the Office of Air Traffic Systems Development at the FAA. ...

[Dated 11-Aug-98]

... STARS is a joint FAA/DoD program to replace Automated Radar Terminal Systems (ARTS) and other terminal automation systems at 172 FAA and 199 Defense Department radar approach control facilities and associated towers. It will be used by controllers to provide air traffic control services to aircraft in terminal areas. ...

[REPLACEMENT ... i.e. joint FAA/DoD program to replace Automated Radar Terminal Systems (ARTS)]

... The IPT is committed to fielding not only a safe system from an air traffic control standpoint, but one that can be effectively operated and supported by controllers and system specialists alike, says Dave Ford, Terminal IPT lead. ... We will continue to work with the unions to obtain an efficient balance between cost, schedule, and system performance.

[According to todays Federal Computer Week -- they didnt deliver on their commitments]

Your second reference says ARTS is being tested -- for Y2K in Denver. So, this IS all Y2K related.

My article above states ... With many airports not scheduled to receive the upgrade until a much later date, the FAA plans to deliver a "patch" to airports that work with the oldest equipment... 

A patch implies, being forced to get the old equipment Y2K ready because the new stuff doesnt cut the mustard.

Still confused Hoffmeister?


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 12, 1999.

That's right, Diane. ARTS is being tested for Y2k. It was part of the successful test in Denver.

So what does that tell us, Diane? Well, to my admittedly sometimes feeble mind, it tells me that ARTS can handle Y2k.

Still with me here, Diane?

Sort of implies that ARTS does not have to be replaced for Y2k. Doesn't it, Diane?

The existence of a patch sort of implies that a fix for ARTS has been developed, tested, and is being implemented. Doesn't it, Diane?

All of which leads me to believe the installation of the replacement for ARTS is not required for the FAA Y2k effort.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 12, 1999.

So you want them to try install, and test, and integrate, and train, and famililarize the operators, and QA, and support a fourth "new" system?

At the same time as their current system(s) won't work next year? Keep in mind - this system (the one tested) still has not been built, been installed - or used, or tested, or supported, or trained, or verified opertaional anywhere else. It still is not certified for actual use - and that certification for use - which should (logically) precede installaion and training and integration. And testing.

Its like saying that we can fly to Europe next January - on the fleet of airplanes being built by Boeing today - based on the stress test that Boeing ran last week on the wing of the first airplane in the proposed fleet.

Why - if it isn't essential to use next year - are they attempting to test it now? Sure - it as an entity - may be needed to replace equipemnt that is burnign out and electrically failing - why don't you consider this a "year 2000" impacted system if it is impacting the schedule and testing of components that are themselves year 2000 impacted?

Don't the previous three failures concern you? They (the FAA) aren't close to being done yet - but are claiming "all will be oaky - come fly with me." It's progress - Great.

Now - build the rest of the d**m airplane and flight test it. Certify it. Build more of them. Train the crews. Train enough to man all the new aircraft being built. Put a meal on board, and a flight crew. Fuel it. Then tell me to buy a ticket to Europe.

-- Robert A Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (Cook.R@csaatl.com), April 12, 1999.

Okay Hoffmeister,

From the latest Yardeni report ... see thread ...

Yardeni: Survey Says I.T. Crowd Foresees Y2K

http://www.greenspun.com/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id= 000iEh

Some good news ... maybe, and some not so good.


Yes, But Count On Delays And Cancellations. Planes are not going to fall out of the sky in January 2000. I'm not sure where this grim notion originated. I can only blame a few reporters for even raising this unattributed concern, though they usually dismissed it. On the other hand, 59% of Chief Information Officers surveyed by CIO Magazine in late March 1999 said they won't fly at the turn of the century. I presume that they are concerned about delays and cancellations rather than safety.

Continental Airlines, the fifth-largest US airline, said it successfully completed a test flight to measure its Year 2000 computer readiness in March. It was the first experiment of its kind for a commercial carrier. Continental flew a Boeing 737 for one hour as its computer date changed to January 1, 2000. The airline said its aircraft communications systems, including the flight-management computer, worked properly.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to provide status information on the readiness of foreign air traffic control systems and airports to the State Department to help develop travel advisories for at-risk countries. Sometime after July 1, the State Department is expected to issue these advisories to airlines and travelers.

FAA: Ready To Takeoff? And Land, Too? What about air travel in the US?

The FAA seemed hopelessly behind in its Y2K effort in early 1998. But in recent months, thanks to a much-improved project management structure, tremendous progress was made. So much so that the agency claimed that 88% of its systems were fixed and tested by the end of March. FAA officials said they expect to have all of the agency's equipment ready by the end of June.

Joel Willemssen, the director of Civil Agencies Information Systems at the US General Accounting Office (GAO) has been monitoring the FAA's progress for Congress. In Congressional testimony on March 15, 1999, he updated his assessment of the FAA's Y2K project. 7 He seemed quite impressed with the dramatic turnaround. However, most of his testimony focused on the huge task that remained ahead. Indeed, Mr. Willemssen noted that "FAA's Year 2000 program manager acknowledged that schedules are tight and there is no room for any schedule delays."

The FAA has to complete roughly 4,500 "events" by June 30, 1999 each one entailing the activation of a single system in a single site. There are 654 air traffic control facilities in the FAA system. The man from the GAO was especially concerned about ARTS-IIIA:

The Automated Radar Terminal System (ARTS)-IIIA is the critical data processing system used in about 55 terminal radar approach control facilities. These systems provide essential aircraft position and flight plan information to controllers. The ARTS-IIIA system continues to rely on a 1960s-vintage computer (a UNIVAC 8303 Input Output Processor), which was originally produced by UNIVAC but is now supported by the Lockheed Martin Corporation. Home computers available today have 250 times the memory of this archaic processor. In 1989 and 1990 we reported on the flight safety risks associated with this system, and recommended that FAA assess other alternatives for meeting air traffic requirements. However, FAA did not act on our recommendation, stating that it had a plan which included continuing with the old processors. Ten years later, these processors are still in operation.

Wow, the FAA is using a machine that should be in a computer museum! Mr. Willemssen was worried that the FAA's analysis "may not have found all date processing code in the Ultra assembly language programs that run in the UNIVAC processor." He wasn't convinced that the FAA tested the "critical functionality of tracking real radar data." Incredibly, the FAA relied on the assurances of one engineer who had worked on the UNIVAC processor since the 1960s that there were no Y2K issues associated with the processor.

Finally, the Congressional auditor observed that, based on survey data, only one-third of the nation's airports reported that they would complete their Y2K preparations by June 30, 1999. The remainder either planned on a later date or failed to estimate any completion date, and half of these airports had no contingency plan for any of 14 core airport functions. Most of the laggards are smaller airports, but 26 are among the nation's largest 50 airports! Have a nice flight.

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.

Testimony ...

Statement by

before the

of the


March 15, 1999

http://www.house.gov/reform/gmit/hearings/testimony/ 990315jw.htm

[Its a hard-hitting Y2K & FAA read]

For further study, see other GAO New Title reports at ...

http:// www.gao.gov/new.items/newtitle.htm

Air Traffic Control: Observations on FAA's Air Traffic Control Modernization Program. T-RCED/AIMD-99-137. 13 pp. March 25, 1999.

http:// www.gao.gov/new.items/r199137t.pdf

Airport Financing: Smaller Airports Face Future Funding Shortfalls. T- RCED-99-96. 13 pp. February 22, 1999.

http:// www.gao.gov/new.items/rc99096t.pdf

Year 2000 Computing Crisis: Status of Airports' Efforts to Deal with Date Change Problem. RCED/AIMD-99-57. 32 pp. plus 3 appendices (24 pp.) January 29, 1999.

http://www.gao.gov/ new.items/r199057.pdf

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.

Diane, since you mentioned the March 15 testimony, don't forget my favorite... <:)=

From the Statement by Kenneth M. Mead, Inspector General, Department of Transportation, before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, on March 15, 1999:

"FAA is facing a unique implementation challenge. The ATC system fixes, after being operated in test-center environments, have to be installed at multiple sites throughout the system. For example, the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar system provides detection of weather events such as wind shear and microbursts. FAA renovated the computer used to support this system, and has to install it at 47 sites. Implementing repairs into the real operational environment has risk due to potential complications resulting from local adaptations to ATC systems (changes made by local technicians). In the past, FAA has encountered problems installing test-center solutions at locations throughout the ATC system due to local changes.

FAA has 21 of the 65 ATC systems that have been fixed, tested, and installed at field sites. The remaining 44 systems are the most complex, and have to be installed at about 3,000 field sites"

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.

Christ this is too easy

"That's right, Diane. ARTS is being tested for Y2k. It was part of the successful test in Denver. So what does that tell us, Diane? Well, to my admittedly sometimes feeble mind, it tells me that ARTS can handle Y2k.

Still with me here, Diane?

Sort of implies that ARTS does not have to be replaced for Y2k. Doesn't it, Diane?

The existence of a patch sort of implies that a fix for ARTS has been developed, tested, and is being implemented. Doesn't it, Diane?"

why would arts need patched if it passed in denver?

-- R. Wright (blaklodg@aol.com), April 13, 1999.

The reason ARTS needs a patch is that EACH OF THE INSTALATIONS has grown AWAY from the installed/distribution soft/hardware due to maintenance being done on a local basis. Currently, and I don't have the refference, but you could probably find it, there is NOT ONE instalation running the initially distributed code. And, not one running the benchmark code which made up the basic "patch" parms. And only one, Denver, running the "tested" configuration.

The same thing is true at NWS and Howard Diamond who I believe is the NWS Y2K Mgr has told me, in e-mail that the WSR-88 and all dopler products are Y2K compliant, UNLESS LOCAL MAINTENANCE HAS CHANGED the local implementation of the system, or unless NIDS has changed the system.

Want a copy of that e-mail, jest ask.


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), April 13, 1999.

Well gee, R Wright, I don't know. Could be because the patch had been installed at Denver, but then, that would be too easy an answer, right?

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 13, 1999.

By the way, Diane, impressive set of links. Nobody is denying the FAA got a late start on Y2k, and that the GAO and OMB haven't focussed quite a bit of concern on them.

From what I have seen, though, the FAA has made each of their internal project deadlines in regard to Y2k.

Throwing up as many links as possible is a nice smoke-screen. But, unless I missed something there, none of them said or implied that the STARS implementation is part of the Y2k effort, or that ARTS must be replaced for Y2k.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 13, 1999.

Y2K related or not, it's just another example of them being LATE. Have they EVER had a project done on time? Why should Y2K be any different? <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.


The FAA "problem" is a bit bigger than isolated solutions. When you investigate some of the issues, you discover that.

The links are pointing readers in further directions to educate themselves, should they choose to do so.

In my NOT so humble opinion, on this issue, it's plain irresponsible to read one article saying Denver "passed" then extrapolate that news to "everything" the FAA touches is Y2K okay.

Clearly, that's not the case.

If I favor anything, on this forum, it's research and investigation, to back-up "good news" claims while looking closely at the related issues with a global lens. Too few people take the time. Because they're often lazy or simply assuming it's not important now, they are easy to "sway" with PR spin.

The FAA IS "spinning" the news. So is the government. To all our detriment.

So what are you "spinning" Hoffmeister? Because it sure seems like you are!

I would LOVE the FAA to be truthful and honest with the American public. Theyre not doing that. Truly sad, and has broader implications for the public preparation concerns, or lack of them.

Well all pay a price with that approach.


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.

Top o the morning to ya, Diane :-)
Solved problem for myself: Me no fly no more ;^}

This just up on AP Breaking News:

FAA releases results of weekend Y2K test

They had matching tapes and have concluded (natch, ssttrrrretch) that flying is Y2K AOK, hurray!

Ain't gonna get us to put our lives on the air line based on known lies. Nope. Travel's gonna be dormant for a while for us. Thanks for your linkardzy :*]

xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), April 13, 1999.


I originally posted to this thread because I saw an implication that the STARS project was part of the FAA Y2k effort. Through a little research, I found that not to be the case.

You seem to have conceded this point, and now are trying to expand the topic to the lack of truthfulness of the FAA. Fine, let's go from here.

You say people people are simply to lazy to back up good news claims. Well, I had seen the comments about lying by the FAA one too many times, and decided to research their statements myself. Turns out, not one statement was wrong, or backsliding, or a hundred other terms I've seen used. Turns out, these claims of "lying" are the result of not enough research, or purposely misreading statements.

People seem to always be clamoring for "more detail". If anything, the FAA has been guilty of providing too much detail, in addressing the status of their Y2k project. And where did it get them? The twisting of their statements, to make it appear they were backsliding, and lying.

Most of the negative comments have been from the GAO and OMB. Granted, the FAA didn't make the March 31st deadline. But then, they never said they would. They created their Y2k project, established deadlines, and apparently have made every one.

People complain that the government is only addressing "mission-critical" systems, but fail to give credit to agencies like the FAA, that are fixing and implementing all their systems.

People complain that agencies and organizations aren't utilizing Independant Verification and Validation. Yet again, fail to credit the FAA for doing precisely that.

Will the FAA make their June 30th deadline? Don't know, but haven't seen any indication they won't.

So exactly where has the FAA lied?

To some other points about the limited nature of the test. It covered multiple systems, at multiple locations:

FAA Releases Preliminary Results From Year 2000 Air Traffic Test At Denver

FAA Releases Preliminary Results From Year 2000 Air Traffic Test At Denver

WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says 
preliminary results from a Year 2000 - or Y2K - test that took 
place at Denver International Airport and nearby FAA air traffic 
facilities on April 10-11 indicate that air traffic control systems 
perform properly during the transition from Dec. 31, 1999, to
Jan. 1, 2000.

During the test, air traffic systems at Denver, Colorado Springs, 
Grand Junction and Longmont, Colo., were split, with one side 
handling aircraft as normal. On the test side, system clocks were 
forwarded to New Year's Eve and rolled over to a simulated new 
year. Test systems did not handle traffic, so safety was not 
compromised. Recorded data from both systems is being 
analyzed for comparison purposes.

"A preliminary analysis of this data shows that the performance 
the systems on both sides was virtually identical," said FAA 
Administrator Jane F. Garvey. "This indicates to us that air 
systems on Jan. 1, 2000, will perform just as they did on Dec. 31, 

The test involved:

7 Air traffic control (ATC) systems at the Denver International 
Airport tower, the Denver TRACON, the Colorado Springs 
TRACON, the Grand Junction tower, and the Longmont, Colo., en 
route center. Systems at each of those facilities are used 
throughout the country, and cover all phases of flight from 
takeoffs to landings. This was a test of the nation's ATC system. 
7 Systems used in all aspects of flight, including those for 
processing radar, weather and flight plan data.
7 The plotting of the movement of one flight in particular, United 
Airlines Flight 2778, which landed at Denver during the test. Data 
on Flight 2778 from live and test systems at the Denver 
TRACON and the en route center at Longmont are identical.
7 The processing of 453 flight plans by the en route center at 
7 The tracking of 51 aircraft by the Denver TRACON during the 
duration of the test. (Note: For safety purposes, all FAA air traffic 
tests are conducted at night, during periods of light traffic. Light 
traffic volume does not impact the validity of these tests.)
7 A total of 108 FAA employees, 73 from Airways Facilities and 35 
from Air Traffic.

The FAA has completed the renovation and testing of all systems 
requiring Y2K work. Those systems are now being implemented in 
the field. The FAA is on track to complete implementation by June 
30, 1999.

The Department of Transportation is committed to meeting the 
Y2K date change. As of March 31, 11 of DOT's 14 agencies 
achieved 100 percent Y2K compliance. At this time, 89 percent of 
the Department's mission-critical systems are compliant. All 
remaining systems will be completed in a timely manner, well in 
advance of Jan. 1, 2000.

                                          # # #

An electronic version of this news release is available via
the World Wide Web at: www.faa.gov

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 13, 1999.

Hoffmeister commented:

"Will the FAA make their June 30th deadline? Don't know, but haven't seen any indication they won't. "

Let's see, they were 99% complete last September with a completion date of December 31, 1998 per their leader Jane Garvey, another 1% ought to be doable by June 30th 1999 or is it?


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 13, 1999.

Ahh, Ray, still having those reading comprehension lapses, eh?

I hear there are quite a few good programs around. You ought to check them out. "Reading is FUNdamental"!

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 13, 1999.


I really do appreciate your effort at trying to bring some balance to this issue. But Ray is correct, Jane Garvey made this public statement, the media picked it up, and John Q. Public read the headline. Now J.Q.P. reads the next headline "FAA test successful" and figures the problem is licked. J.Q.P. doesn't spend time on the net looking for details, he reads the headlines. Now you can post any article that you want, and you can go find all the charts, and you can call it fixed vs. tested vs. installed, and you can spin it any way that you want. The fact of the matter is that she lied to the public to instill confidence. Her statement was not true then, and it still is not true now. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.

Hoffmeister commented:

"Ahh, Ray, still having those reading comprehension lapses, eh?

I hear there are quite a few good programs around. You ought to check them out. "Reading is FUNdamental"! "

Hoffmeister, is this the BEST you can do? My My!!

Was there anything I said that WAS NOT TRUE?

Am I twisting any facts? Am I putting out any PROPAGANDA?


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 13, 1999.

No, Sysman, the "fact" is she made a statement regarding the status of one phase of the FAA project. That same statement also mentioned that testing was just beginning.

How it is construed and reported is beyond her or the FAA's control. But, to be honest, I haven't seen her misquoted in any article, either.

Live in your fantasy world of lies if you wish. It obviously fits with your preconceived views on Y2k, so by all means, go for it. All anyone can do is lay out the facts, as they actually happened. If you still want to deny it, there's really nothing else to say.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 13, 1999.

Hoffmeister commented:

"No, Sysman, the "fact" is she made a statement regarding the status of one phase of the FAA project. That same statement also mentioned that testing was just beginning.

How it is construed and reported is beyond her or the FAA's control. But, to be honest, I haven't seen her misquoted in any article, either. "

How it is construed and reported IS very important to the FAA and the Administration, Hoffmeister. They work VERY HARD to see that it is CONSTRUED and REPORTED to their satisfaction!!


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 13, 1999.

Hoffmeister ..... don't you think that administrations lie to protect their jobs/interests/company? H mmmmmm. Tobacco comes to mind.
I'll be you smoke and drink a gallon of vodka a day, since the research, testing, and official reports say it's not addictive or harmful. I wish I had enough money to buy you a Jan 1, 2000 ticket somewhere out of the country since you are such a pinhead - karen

-- karen (karen@karen.kar), April 13, 1999.

Dearest Karen:

How is it you can believe that administrations will lie to protect their interests and jobs, yet cannot believe they will address and fix a relatively straightforward technological problem to protect their interests and jobs?

Yes, I smoke. Occupational hazard. No to the gallon of vodka a day, but do have a fondess for Merlot.

As for "pinhead", dear girl, do try harder next time. I've been called much worse.

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 13, 1999.


You're missing my point. I do spend alot of time looking at the details. I have seen the charts. The average citizen HAS NOT. They read the Sunday paper, or watch the 6:00 news and see "FAA passes Y2K test" "NERC Y2K test successful" etc. etc. They are NOT being told the whole story. They are NOT spending time researching the problem, because of the rosey picture being painted by the media. I'm not picking on you, or the FAA in particular. I am saying that the average citizen is puting too much trust in the media and government spin. <:)=

-- Sysman (y2kboard@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.

Because I work as a contracted programmer in a County System that has just now started INVENTORY and has adopted an FOF approach, no matter what my superiors and co-programmers have proposed. This county is in basically toast. Their releases to the local papers/tvs etc are all lies. Anything else, pinhead? karen.....nope, I take that back. Lunch break is almost over....gotta go back to work to try to save your stupid ass from these administrative types. karen

-- kar (karen@karen.kar), April 13, 1999.

Karen, I believe your sincere. These are the kind of posts that will help newer folks to the forum make up their minds about y2k.

Thanks, Ray

-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 13, 1999.

Of course, Karen, they're all lies.

Don't you feel any responsibility to name this dreadful county, since it is "toast"? No moral obligation?

Wait, I see. You're afraid to do that because, all together now, you're protecting your job and interests. Hmm, now where have I heard that before?

-- Hoffmeister (hoff_meister@my-dejanews.com), April 13, 1999.

Hoffmeister commented:

"Of course, Karen, they're all lies.

Don't you feel any responsibility to name this dreadful county, since it is "toast"? No moral obligation?

Wait, I see. You're afraid to do that because, all together now, you're protecting your job and interests. Hmm, now where have I heard that before? "

Gee Hoffmeister, you seem t be falling apart here. Didn't even get a respose to my last two posts.


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 13, 1999.

BTW Hoffmeister, the BIG difference between Karen and the FAA is that Karen has told the TRUTH!!


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 13, 1999.

Hoff, I agree with your posts. Diane seems to think that everything (even dog poop in the road) is related to Y2K.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), April 13, 1999.

Maria hears Hoffmeister cry for help from the next cubical.

-- Dilbert (the@cube.man), April 13, 1999.

Karen has posted quite a few times before. She is rather blunt.

I do know that she is active in her area Chamber of Commerce in spearheading the Y2K remediation efforts. Without her and some others, there would still be no action I believe.

I have communicated with her concerning getting local governments to act on Y2K efforts, since I too became involved in county situations last year (1998).

She posted in February something about addressing the county officials in a public forum, with much ferver, however, the results are still the same.

Foot dragging, shuffling, shirking, and non-commital statements are all that seem to come out of the town councils and Chambers of Commerce (who are supposed to have the public and businesses best interest at heart).

I'm afraid a lot of us that work in any type of programming are getting frustrated.

Mr. K
***would have loved to have had a chance to get started 2 years ago, but the admins wouldn't hear of it***

-- Mr. Kennedy (here@work.now), April 13, 1999.

-- Dilbert commented:

"Maria hears Hoffmeister cry for help from the next cubical."

Dilbert, I wonder if those cubicles are anywhere near John Ko-skin-em's office?


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 13, 1999.

Thanks Mr. K


-- Ray (ray@totacc.com), April 13, 1999.

Hoff: You lost me somewhere in your defense of FAA's status reporting. They were caught red-handed lying about their progress. Remember that?

These guys still use equipment with vacuum tubes. This massive Y2K project is gonna blow them out of the water, as it will other antiquated agencies such as IRS.

The center will not hold guy. Been there done that.

-- a (a@a.a), April 13, 1999.

Of course, Karen, they're all lies. Don't you feel any responsibility to name this dreadful county, since it is "toast"? No moral obligation?

Wait, I see. You're afraid to do that because, all together now, you're protecting your job and interests. Hmm, now where have I heard that before?

-- Hoffmeister

At last, a break before putting in 4 hours more.... Now to this assumption Hoffmeister has concocted. Me? Lying to protect my job and interests? I quit my job sir, just as my ex-Senior Analyst IBM'er father-in-law to work contract work in our own communities and county. And, what did you say you have contributed?

I have heard more "officials" tell their PR people to stay away from using Y2K terminology in any releases unless it was specifically addressed. You don't know how many times incidents ARE Y2K related. Since when did you get anything more than "sorry, you can't check your balance right now, the computers are down"? Since when did you ASK for any further information? I'll just bet there's no one in the office that is able to answer your question. If there IS, YOU'LL never see them.

There are some truths in everything. In the press releases from officials (choke) there are just enough truths to get people out of hot water. It seems as though management is following our commander in chiefs example. It depends on what "is" is.

In all honesty, being one to have to explain the status of remediation or testing to non-technical (but supposedly very smart) people well enough to have them act or take appropriate measures against the Y2K delima, it in-of-itself is enough to make us blow what gasket we have left. I've had 2 collegues die within the past 8 days, one being a respected senior advisor. The stress is taking it's toll. Why? Because of administration. If all major businesses or community governments were made up of IT teams, there wouldn't be as big of a wall to climb. But, gasp, THEY'RE NOT. And I'm close to saying the hell with all of them. Just now in inventory. Can you believe it? Sure you can. Call them on the phone: they'll say everythings fine. What do they base their information on? Not a damn thing. Just because they have "FINALLY" hired some of us, they feel the little problem will be no big deal and they'll tell you what they tell everyone else: "We've got some people on it". Have you ever had to teach brain surgery to Barny Fife? That's what it is like trying to work with and explain things to these folks.

If we need to spend money (and of course we do), they come back with "it's not in the budget, we can't work THAT in". I have told them twice, in heated discussions that they can count on not having a budget at all next year if they don't come off it. But hey, what can I say? Before they give any money out of the precious "budget" (my tax money, by the way), they have to understand exactly what it is for. Hell, how can I send them through 4 years of college and 13 years in the field in a few short weeks? They are a group of 12 elected ex-Tobacco farmers that have lived here all their lives. You can bet the damn farm they aren't going to give up the pay raise they just voted themselves to contribute to further Y2K related projects. They don't understand the situation. It's not a fire in the church that they can see spreading up the block. Since it is not tangible, they have no concept of what we are really up against.

Many county operations are in serious jeopardy, including our EMS/911 systems. I'm glad I'm not on the Water Plant project either.

So, bite my ass. I have had enough of wanna-be politicians and county managers. If I didn't care so much about trying to be part of the solution to a deplorable situation, I'd be building the hell out of my greenhouse right now ---which is a weekend building project. There is LOTS and I mean LOTS of instances where the general public is lied to because "there's no need to needlessly alarm the public, we can handle this" (we meaning the IT team as "they" speak for us). It's a depressing, stressful job. We're doing what we can. You don't hear but about 20% of the story in the press. What a joke the press is -- karen

-- karen (karen@karen.kar), April 13, 1999.

Thank you karen! Do take time out, others need you even if the politicians dont think they do.

So, for those of you find the airborne happy facers on this thread, a little too eager ....

If youd like to begin informing yourself about the FAA situation, Ive found a good semi-neutral place to start is with Federal Computer Week (FCW).

To search the FCW archives use different search strategies and look over the hits. Try entering under Query:


 FAA and Year 2000

 FAA and Air Traffic

(Note: The archives currently only contain from 1996 to February 8, 1999. The search engine doesnt work on the most current issues, so you have to view them issue-by-issue at http://www.fcw.com/pubs/fcw/ archive.htm)

Underneath Query it helps to also shift:

 YEAR to Any Year

 Number of Documents to 100

 Search Order to Newest First

 Then hit the Submit Query button.

With each successive search, youll find interesting FAA leads and clues to browse.

Just spent about 6 hours reading, and Im convinced there are deeper problems at the FAA than most people are aware of, and not all are Y2K related, by a long shot.

It would take me hours to summarize what Ive uncovered ... and its only the tip of the FAA iceberg. Id now estimate it would take a dedicated researcher about 5 days to do justice to the topic, reading all the Congressional testimony, the historical documents, the GAO and OMB reports, studying the DoD, FAA, Air Traffic Controllers and all inter-related web-sites.

In a BRIEF nutshell, we have an ageing air traffic control system, which in many cases is experiencing repeated failures ... now ... in its mission critical equipment.

At the Federal level, we also have an equally ageing FAA bureaucracy which is resistent to change, subject to management ossification and turf wars, and one that has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on equipment modernization that doesnt work and needs to be scrapped.

You also have internal people who procure new equipment off-the- shelf to save tax money, but because they never directly involve the ultimate users -- Air Traffic Controllers -- in the specification process, they end up with equipment that doesnt work and causes key safety hazards (STARS). This results in major delays.

Then you overlay faulty modernization goals, with the Y2K problem, and throw in expectations that new equipment will be deployed to replace the old, but because of delays, you have to patch the old stuff (which is failing intermittently already), and, well, its ugly.

And it adds to the complexity of the FAA Y2K solution.

Then, toss in extra spice.

Recall ... Y2K is coupled with terrorist concerns and Critical Infrastructure Protection. (FAA air traffic control is considered critical infrastructure to protect). So, you conduct outside security tests of ATC systems, and reports find that the FAA systems lack even adequate security. Any competent hacker can mess with the air traffic control. (Details classified).

Well ... its more than a mess. And times running out and delays are still happening.

You can search for yourself, but for me ... I aint flyin ... period!


Search FCW at:

http:// athena.fcw.com/FCW/archive.nsf/SearchForm

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), April 13, 1999.

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