FAA... conflicting statements

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"FAA: Don't be fooled by airlines' Y2K claims" June 23, 1999 Web posted [on CNN] at: 1:12 p.m. EDT (1712 GMT) by Stewart Deck

(IDG) -- Next January, the year 2000 bug will get blamed for plenty of slowdowns and equipment failures, but some U.S. airlines are qlready blaming Y2K systems testing for flight delays.

Don't believe it.

"I have no idea why airlines would say that. It's completely false," said Paul Takemoto, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. "All of our [Y2K] systems testing was completed last March."

Nonetheless, at least two airlines have told fliers that Y2K testing delayed their flights. Last Monday, American Airlines gate agents in Chicago told passengers headed to Providence that nationwide ground stoppages were being caused by Y2K testing. But Elizabeth Cory, the FAA's deputy of public affairs for the Great Lakes region, said, "That's not true. It appears that we have some ground agents giving out inaccurate information. There is no Y2K testing taking place."

John Hotard, a spokesman for American, said gate agents often look for a quick, convenient answer to give harried passengers. "Y2K testing can be an easy answer to give for delays when they really don't know," Hotard said. "We need to do a better job of giving accurate information to agents."



Okay... didn't Y2KNEWS.COM recently quote an FAA official as saying they were not done with testing yet???

-- M.C. Hicks (mhicks@greenwich.com), June 23, 1999


PS - you can find the full article at...


-- M.C. Hicks (mhicks@greenwich.com), June 23, 1999.

From Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM's "FAA Timeline" link: (and apologies for leaving the "WIRE" out of Y2KNEWSWIRE.COM previously!)

June 1, 1999: Cox News Service reports some amazing news: first, it claims "The millennium bug hasn't shut down a single computer at the Federal Aviation Administration." Also in the story: FAA still promises all systems will be ready by June. They are now 92% finished, they say. But this blockbuster claim takes the prize: "We'll be Y2K-compliant six months ahead of schedule,'' says Dennis Koehler, division manager for air traffic services in the FAA's Southern region.

Koehler claims all the bad press is just a "difference in perception" and adds the agency missed the May 1 deadline "on purpose" because it needed more time.

-- M.C. Hicks (mhicks@greenwich.com), June 23, 1999.

There is enough horse poopy in this one article to fill a small park in Van Nuys. Where to begin? How about with this statement:

All of our [Y2K] systems testing was completed last March.

Really? Then what was that highly public test they ran on April 11, followed by interviews on the morning news shows the next couple days? Is Mr. Takemoto now admitting that wasnt a real test (which some of us suspected all along)?

You would think that after the fiasco of last fall, when the FAAs claim to be 99% done was shot down by the GAO, these folks would be putting more effort into getting their stories straight.

One air traffic official conceded that there have been more flight delays recently but said they are attributable to systems upgrades, not Y2K testing.

If an old ATC computer system, not Y2K-compliant, is being replaced by a new ATC computer system which is Y2K-compliant, is that Y2K testing? Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on what the definition of "is" is.

How many more of these system upgrades are they planning between now and December 31? What good does it do the flying public if they are "done with their testing" but the computers dont get installed at all the sites? "Done with testing" is a half truth. At best.

Chagrined US Airways Group Inc. officials have since acknowledged the importance of being accurate with customers.

No such chagrin at the FAA, so far.

Whenever I run into someone who might know anything about Y2K, I try to find out what they know. More than one source tells me the FAA isnt done. They arent 92% done. They arent going to be done on July 1. They might get done by December 31, but they might not. Make your plans accordingly.

-- Alan Rushby (arushby@my-deja.com), June 23, 1999.

Major delays in Minneapolis today due to equipment upgrades at regional TRACON. Of course this isn't Y2K related....... just your average lets scrap all the old equipment for something new and shiny and, uhh, Y2K "compliant". Calling Dr Howard, Dr Fine, Dr Howard....

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), June 23, 1999.

The difference between being a successful or inept liar, lies in the quantity and recollection of lies.

-- Gia (Laureltree7@hotmail.com), June 23, 1999.

Clearly we need a taxonomy here. As a suggestion:

1) First-order y2k problems. These are actual date bugs in code that cause programs to behave unexpectedly. Direct results of date miscalculations.

2) Second-order y2k problems: These are problems caused directly by y2k efforts, but not by date miscalculations per se. Examples are problems involving upgrades to compliant systems, problems with poorly constructed tests, and non-date bugs inadvertently introduced during remediation.

3) Third-order y2k problems. This is everything else, from reduced dividends due to remediation expenses, to repair of problems in existing systems being delayed/delayed enhancements in existing systems because the programmers are busy remediating, to shortages of generators and the like due to public concerns, to key people in the know bailing out, and so on.

The TRACON difficulties can be considered a second-order problem.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), June 23, 1999.

But if the plane takes off late, or cannot safely take off at all (is delayed for "retraining") - it's still a Y2K problem.

Yes, the primary failure wasn't date-induced. It doesn't matter though - to the airline now getting "late" stickers on its filights, or to the ATC employee getting "retrained" or the passenger being delayed.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), June 24, 1999.

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