Much Y2k Aviation Work Remains : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Now who are you suppose to believe here??

By Tim Dobbyn

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Plenty of potential Year 2000 computer glitches could affect the aviation industry despite major achievements by the Federal Aviation Administration in fixing its equipment, a congressional hearing was told Thursday.

Congress's General Accounting Office (GAO) said the FAA should do more tests of its systems while they are linked together and guard against problems stemming from airports, airlines and foreign air traffic control services.

``These factors could impede FAA's ability to provide reliable aviation services, which could seriously affect the flow of air traffic across the nation and around the world,'' GAO information systems expert Joel Willemssen said.

The uncertainty surrounding aviation systems in other countries was highlighted by data showing 35 countries had still not responded as of Thursday to an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) request for information that had been due July 1.

The Year 2000 problem, or Y2K glitch, occurs because many older computers and their software only allocated two digits for the year in a date.

Unless computers are repaired or replaced, the year 2000 may be read as 1900, causing computer systems to make mistakes or shut down. For air travelers that could mean anything from airport escalators not working to long delays if controllers' screens fail and traffic is restricted to maintain safety.


Despite the warnings against overconfidence sounded in Washington, aviation industry officials gathered in New York Thursday to declare that air travel on Jan. 1 will be as reliable and safe as it is now.

The Air Transport Association and other industry groups, issued results of a poll showing 75 percent of 800 U.S. adults surveyed Sept. 6-7 believe the Y2K bug will be a minor problem and only 9 percent had changed plans to avoid flying around Jan. 1.

The FAA was late in starting work on its elderly patchwork of hundreds of computers that make up the air traffic control system but declared it had implemented all repairs on June 30.

``Overall FAA continues to make excellent progress on Y2K,'' Willemssen told a joint hearing by subcommittees of the House Science and House Government Reform panels.

But Willemssen stressed the job was not over, a view backed by Department of Transportation Inspector General Ken Mead, who raised a number of concerns.

Mead testified the FAA needed to exercise great caution to ensure local programs and upgrades did not undo the repair work already done.

He also said the union representing technicians who maintain air traffic control equipment had not played a significant role in drawing up contingency plans in the event equipment failed on the evening of Dec. 31.

Mead said he believed the large airlines that carry 95 percent of passengers were handling preparations for Y2K well, but the FAA faced the challenge of following up with nearly 2,000 small and medium carriers which did not respond to its earlier surveys.


Mead said that as of Aug 31, 53 countries out of 185 had not responded to ICAO, a United Nations organization based in Montreal. FAA later issued updated figures showing just 35 failures to respond.

FAA listed the countries as: Albania, Angola, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Comoros, Cook Islands, Congo, Fiji, Guinea, Iraq, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Libya, Micronesia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Russia, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Tonga, Vanuatu.

Mead said the lack of information from certain countries, plus the absence of a U.S. policy on whether American carriers could fly to countries that have not resolved the Y2K problem, was creating significant uncertainty for international travelers at the year's end.

``Time is running out. In our opinion, these uncertainties should be resolved by Oct. 15,'' Mead said.

FAA Administrator Jane Garvey said her agency was working with the Departments of Defense and State to gauge the readiness of foreign civil aviation authorities.

``At this point it appears that if any Y2K impact is felt, it would take the form of limited disruption of service in some locations,'' Garvey said.

FAA would look into whether additional large scale tests were needed but Garvey expressed satisfaction with a successful demonstration in April of Y2K repairs.

-- y2k dave (, September 10, 1999



We have info from Ms. Garvey who states that the FAA is just fine, it's EVERYBODY ELSE who isn't.

We're to believe a bureaucrat and Clinton appointee that the FAA is the only aviation agency in the world to make it. Even with a 20 year history of botched software and hardware projects.

How are we going to be able to tell if Denver, Dallas-Ft Worth, Atlanta, La Guardia, O'Hare, Gatwick, Geneva, Leonardo Da Vinci, Frankfurt, etc. etc. are screwed up or is it the FAA? Or the Airlines? Or the ticketing computers? Or half a dozen other players?

What I heard makes me very suspicious. They haven't installed everything yet, so how can they be done as they announced in July? Unless it's in an operational capacity, they're not done.

Come next year, any glitches found in aviation, the FAA is going to point to everybody except themselves, just as they're doing now.

And again, they have a rotten track record of software deployment. AND they've told us repeatedly they were done (Sept '98, March '99, and July '99) only to have to tell us "not quite", or "not fully installed", etc.

I know this makes me sound like a doomer. Oh well. I'm glad I'm not flying anytime soon.


-- Jollyprez (, September 10, 1999.

Could someone point to where anything says the FAA hasn't installed all of their Y2k work yet?

-- Hoffmeister (, September 10, 1999.


I recall a Wall Street Journal news article last week or before that stated the FAA is still using antiquated systems. I didn't buy the newspaper so don't quote me on this but what exactly are "antiquated systems" and why are does the FAA still use them? Anybody get the Wall Street Journal?

-- y2k dave (, September 10, 1999.

So Hoff,

We've gone around this before, yet you always say the same thing. Your unwillingness to acknowledge the facts is indeed baffling.

But, to refresh your memory, yet again, a piece of a thread referenced before:


LEXINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 23, 1999--Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTNA - news; NYSE:RTNB - news) announced today the successful completion of Raytheon's Year 2000 (Y2K) Joint Validation Testing of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) Early Display Configuration (EDC) at Raytheon's Marlborough, Mass., facility.

Completion of this Y2K test milestone is another key step consistent with successful deployment of the STARS system. The initial operational sites are scheduled for El Paso, Texas and Syracuse, N.Y. later this year.



Sounds to me like it's not in yet. If it was in, and was working correctly, I'm sure Mz. Garvey would have mentioned it yesterday.

This is only one system, I have yet to hear about their other systems already installed and operational. Until they crow about it, one cannot conclude they're done. No other reasonable inference can be made!

So Hoff?????


-- Jollyprez (, September 10, 1999.

Yep, been around this block far too many times.

Maybe the last? Doubt it, but one can always be optimistic.

STARS is a replacement system for the ARTS system: see this reference.

Of course, they would test STARS for Y2k compliance. But The FAA renovated and replaced the existing ARTS systems, in addition to moving ahead with the STARS replacement:

From Terminal Y2K Efforts:

During the past several months, the Terminal Integrated Product Team has accomplished several significant milestones to ensure Year 2000 (Y2K) compliance of the nations Terminal air traffic control automation systems. The IPT is responsible for legacy systems (the ARTS IIA and IIIA), as well as the new Common ARTS (ARTS IIE and ARTS IIIE), and STARS systems.

Y2K compliance is defined by the FAA Year 2000 Program Office as Information Systems that are able to accurately process date data, including calculating, comparing, and sequencing from, into, and between twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including leap year calculations. Due to the large number of software and hardware systems, languages, and platforms that are used by the FAA to perform air traffic control and other functions, agency Year 2000 efforts require careful coordination.

Under the FAA Year 2000 Program Office Project Plan, all existing systems will be assessed and then renovated to become Y2K compliant. New systems designed with the Millennium bug in mind have to be tested for Y2K compliance prior to deployment.

For the Terminal IPT, several Y2K activities were completed on its systems. Highlights include:

ARTS IIA>/b> An initial assessment of the Automated Radar Terminal System (ARTS) IIA LSI-2/40 computer yielded no Y2K hardware issues. This, coupled with the fact that the operational software is Y2K compliant, ensures smooth operations. ARTS IIA is scheduled for certification on September 15, 1998.

ARTS IIIA Y2K assessment has been completed. Renovation was initiated on April 10, 1998, and will be completed by July 27, 1998. ARTS IIIA certification is scheduled for September 28, 1998.

Common ARTS IIE/IIIE System baseline activities are on schedule and within cost for all Y2K planned activities. Renovations are scheduled for completion by September 22, 1998. Systems certification is scheduled for completion by December 30, 1998. Field implementation is scheduled for completion by June 11, 1999.

STARS A new approach for conducting Year 2000 testing on the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS), warranted to be Y2K compliant by its developer Raytheon, was defined during the past several months.

The approach involves having Raytheon conduct the formal Y2K testing at its facilities, with test personnel from the FAAs William J. Hughes Technical Center on-hand to monitor all test activities.

Once testing is completed satisfactorily and the FAA has determined that the STARS meets all Y2K requirements, the agency will certify the system, prior to deployment to air traffic control facilities.

The Terminal IPT will continue to work hard to ensure that all terminal automation systems run smoothly through the transition to the year 2000. These efforts are imperative for the continued safety of the National Airspace System.

-- Hoffmeister (, September 10, 1999.


-- Hoffmeister (, September 10, 1999.

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