Y2K Patch May Have Caused FAA "Glitch"

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[Fair use for educational purposes.]


"Flight Control Center Problems May Be Y2K Related - PASS" January 06, 2000: 5:59 p.m. ET

"WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A. (NB) -- By Brian Krebs, Newsbytes. A software "patch" that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) installed on its host computers before the Y2K rollover may have been responsible for the computer system crash that grounded planes all over the East Coast today, according to a specialist that supervises work on the FAA's computer systems." "Last week, workers from the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) - the union representing workers who fix and maintain the FAA's computer systems - told reporters the FAA had ordered an eleventh-hour computer patch to be applied to all of its host computer systems around the country, in an apparent last-minute effort to stave off complications from a possible Y2K glitch." "The system failure at the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, Va. earlier this morning comes on the heels of a similar breakdown at an air traffic control center in Boston earlier this week, where a crashed computer hard drive held planes in limbo for hours and delayed flights at nearby airports." "PASS national assistant Mike Perrone said that although the two problems involved a malfunction in different types of equipment, the FAA may not have thoroughly tested the patch in its rush to fix its systems before the New Year." "I'm not saying these two situations are identical, but when all of a sudden you've got two problems pop up just a few days after you've put a patch in...it's kind of hard to say that's just a coincidence," Perrone said." "Perrone said a new host computer at the Leesburg air traffic center became overloaded with flight information when Wednesday's data was not automatically cleared from its memory. The resulting shutdown forced the FAA to ground planes at all three Washington, D.C. area airports, causing backups at airports in Boston, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Raleigh, North Carolina, and all three New York airports. FAA spokesman William Shumann, said Peronne's statement "borders on the irresponsible," and added that the true cause of today's glitch was not yet entirely clear. Shumann said the only thing that was clear was that the problem was not related to the software patch." "The patch contains about 16 lines of code, inserted into a system with hundreds of thousands of lines of code," Shumann said, adding that the patch was put in place Dec. 30 to deal with the "very rare chance that something could happen exactly at the rollover to the New Year. There is no evidence that the patch has anything at all to do with this morning's outage," or the outage in Boston, Shumann said. Shuman did say there seemed to be at least a "superficial resemblance" between the incidents at Boston and Washington in that "both apparently involved a problem in a peripheral unit that led to a problem in the main computer itself."

"The equipment that broke down at the Washington center today was installed by the FAA in March of last year."

-- Deb M. (vmclell@columbus.rr.com), January 07, 2000


Sorry about the formatting, I hit the "Enter" key each time before each new paragraph, but it looks like it didn't take... Damn Win98!

-- Deb M. (vmcclell@columbus.rr.com), January 07, 2000.

Hi Deb! It's not your software, but Phil's--you need to hit the return key 2x and make a space in the text to get the hard return to work.

Thanks for the post. Is the kitchen heating up here?

-- silver ion (ag3@interlog.com), January 07, 2000.

Hi Silver! Yep, definitely looks like it's getting a bit warmer, doesn't it...

-- Deb M. (vmcclell@columbus.rr.com), January 07, 2000.

Well, it got fixed. Therein lies the tale.

-- (I'm@pol.ly), January 07, 2000.

Wow, LadyLogic, it's nice to see you posting with roses all around instead of spam (smells much better, anyway).

Those cats on Debunki are still having their theological debates, no doubt. Well, perception is reality, I always say.

As long as they don't start quoting Jack Van Impe as a relaible source, they should be okay, right?

-- Anonymous (aka ...) (three_dots@work.now), January 07, 2000.

Ladylogic, I don't dislike you, I dislike spam. Being Chaotic Neutral myself, I say the more the merrier. It's all in good fun.

-- Three Dots (Three_dots@work.now), January 07, 2000.

"Well, it got fixed. Therein lies the tale."

Who said it got fixed?

They switched back to their old slower system, but the new system still has bugs that will take years for them to fix.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), January 07, 2000.

Hey, LL, thanks for the 'guilty' admission.

-- see (you@in.court), January 07, 2000.

Three Dots,

"...Chaotic Neutral..." I'll bet you musta been LOADS of fun on some of the campaigns! "No, no Gork! Shoot the orcs, NOT the mage!"

-- Deb M. (vmcclell@columbus.rr.com), January 07, 2000.

Thanks Deb M. LOL for "Gork". It's been a few years since I played.

LL and the other pollies: Don't you think the FAA is just a little embarrassed that they were putting in 11th hour software patches after having reported that they were "compliant" since July?

Were there more delays in the last 18 months than in the three previous years combined? I bet there were. Were more of them related to software upgrades due to Y2k than the weather? I bet they were.

Will problems like this eventually lead to a recession? I've already bet that they will.

-- nothere nothere (notherethere@hotmail.com), January 07, 2000.

Good point "nothere." It is definite proof that they lied. The real shocker is that millions of sheeple were outraged that Clinton lied about getting a hummer, but they could care less that Jane Garvey, Koskinen, and Dodd lied about the safety of the millions of passengers that fly every day.

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), January 07, 2000.

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