Aviation Week & Space Technology Overviewgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
The 4/19/99 issue of AW&ST has several overview articles on Y2K from an aerospace point of view. This is the first issue which put Y2K on the cover (title: Aerospace Ready For Y2K?). This is more or less THE magazine for those in the industry. The magazine has only run a few articles on the subject and those were quite recent. The overall message or theme can be summed up by a quote from Robert Morgan (FAA Y2K international manager) who said: "Airplanes won't fall from the sky. But its not going to be a nonevent either." The US airline industry will spend something like $2 Billion (most of that over the last 18 months.) I will list some of the other salient points from the articles.
- Boeing reports spending $350 million a year for the last 3 years.
Pratt & Whitney began a Y2K review 2 years ago. It is in final negotiations to outsource all of it IT functions to CSC for a $1 billion dollar/5 year contract.
- Cessna has 5,000 suppliers. Initial surveys of the suppliers were "disappointing" and "cavalier". However, Cessna is now getting letters from the suppliers "on a day-to-day basis to reassure us".
- A fair number of mainframes and midis are getting physically replaced. (No numbers reported.)
- Lockheed Martin is upgrading to PeopleSoft and SAP
- ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning) installations are slowing to a crawl as companies hunker down.
- Aerospace/airline corps are reluctant to give oput info for legal reasons.
- In mid-1998 the ATA (Air Transport Assoc) approved a $15.5 million project to survey common service providers (airport ground services) for the associations 28 member airlines. This amount exceeded the the trade assosciation's total annual operating budget. The following is quote from Thomas Brown, Y2K project executive director when the project was launched, "many aviation executives didn't know what Y2K is".
- Large suppliers like Boeing have been "forthcoming" in giving Y2K data to the ATA. However, smaller suppliers "has been the most difficult part of the project. Businesses have lawyers telling them not to say anything."
- The FAA has turned to the ATA members (the airlines) "to confirm the Y2K status of critical operational computer systems at airports at which they have major operations."
- US Airways sold much of its IT department to Sabre Group and signed a 25 year agreement with them to manage its "information-technology capabilities".
- Sabre has been working on Y2K since 1995 (700 programmers/200 million lines of code). Its chief, Michael Durham, is quoted as saying ,"We haven't yet cleared the final hurdle. We must have complete system interoperatibility" with its customers, suppliers and partners.
- SouthWest Airlines systems were/are fairly new and "most" were compliant. However, "the airlines goal is to complete the work by the third quarter of this year.", says Linda Evans of South West (Y2K program manager).
- UPS isn't saying much beyond saying they to complete "business critical systems" by 3/31/99 and the rest by 6/30/99. The article says, "its unclear where the effort stands."
- Continental completed a one hour test of the ACARS (Aircraft Communication and Reporting System) air to ground link on 4/1/99 with no reported problems.
- FAA Y2K lead Ray Long is quoted as saying that repairs to all of the FAA's 151 mission critical systems and 628 non-critical systems have been "developed". Further, these are "in place in 70% of the mission-critical systems and 85% of the noncritical ones."
- The Denver roll ahead test "handled the Y2K change without disruption". No other details were made available and the test wasn't mentioned again.
- Quote under a picture of an air traffic controller at a scope, "Many air traffic systems do not calculate dates, but Y2K bugs threatened to disable their maintenance and support systems."
- Pushing Tin is a very entertaining movie. Jolie could make any man lose his mind!
- Quantas seems particularly worried about international issues.
- The Air Force will conduct a major integrated Y2K test soon in an air to air exercise. They are also goig to put Keesler AFB through a Y2K drill that emphasizes loss of public utilities. (Most US bases use off base commercial power.)
-- RD. ->H (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 24, 1999
Having spent 37 years in aviation(4 years Navy, 33 major aircarrier) I think the bit about airplanes falling out of the sky is a PR stunt by the media to take attention away from the real problem. Todays aircraft have many redundant systems which allows the plane to keep flying after losing a major system. I think the statement about not flying in the first place is totally correct, as in the dispatch system alone, there are any number of date sensitive functions. The same trip is flown almost every day and some of these are planned by the dispatch function ahead. Aircraft routing for maintainence is a time critical function, crew scheduling is date sensitive and so it goes.
-- Gene on Cape Cod (email@example.com), April 24, 1999.
2 billions in aerospace alone? Wow! A long way from a "non-event."
Now, again, the question comes up: NONE of these dared to "test" before completing remediation, none (based on the comments summarized above) have finished everything yet.
Doesn't mean they are in too deep of trouble yet - those who are close to finishing can still (probably) finish on time and still have time to use their systems in 1999 as a "live test". But, it does mean that those companies NOT remediated (or very close to finishing - in any industry) are in deep trouble. These guys aren't spending this much money to repair nothing and "convenience" printouts.
It's getting later.
-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 26, 1999.
-- K Stevens (K Stevens@the _wheels_are_coming_off.com), April 26, 1999.