May 25, 2007, - 4:15 pm

21 California Airports Lose Radar Screens for Hour: Mere “Glitch”. . . or Something Worse?

By Debbie Schlussel
Reader/Blogger Mark L. Jackson of Mark’s Soap Box sends along a story that’s interesting, alarming, and–strangely–hardly covered by the media.
This morning, 21 California Airports simultaneously lost their radar screens for a full hour, making it impossible for planes to land, as air traffic controllers had no visuals.
We’re told it was just a “glitch” due to the installation of new mapping software. But the system crashed for a full hour. Was this merely a glitch or something worse (over which they don’t want us to panic)? We’ll never know for sure. And I’m as skeptical as Mark L. Jackson is.

airtrafficcontroltowerplane.jpg

More from the San Diego Union-Tribune a/k/a “the illegal alien/Jihad Darrell Issa amen rag”:

SAN DIEGO – The maps vanished from air traffic controllers’ screens for an hour early Friday morning, affecting 21 Southern California airports, including Lindbergh Field and Palomar-McClellan Airport in Carlsbad. . . .
The system failure occurred as thousands of travelers were preparing to depart for the long Memorial Day weekend.
About one-third of Lindbergh’s takeoffs and landings were delayed slightly as the impact of the system crash rippled throughout the air traffic network, a Lindbergh Field spokeswoman said.
The glitch occurred at 5:24 a.m. at the Southern California TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) center based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, said Ian Gregor, a regional spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. . . .
The radar centers control the airspace within a 5- to 50-mile radius of an airport. They direct pilots on their landing approach before “handing them off’ to the airport’s control tower, and direct them on takeoff before handing them off to an “enroute controller.”

If this is just a “glitch,” it’s quite an effective one.

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4 Responses

I know a little something about the hardware and software involved in real time operations. A situation like this only happens when (a) the team is totally incompetent or (b) it is deliberate.
My wild guess it is (a) and not a learning exercise and/or real intent to cause harm. If the reason is revealed we will know it is valid if plausible incompetence is the culprit and the guilty party is made known along with the explanation. Shocking. Just shocking.

Happiness Pursuer on May 25, 2007 at 5:18 pm

This is still getting little coverage here in the SoCal area.
The question that no one is asking: why do an upgrade to critical infrastructure on a busy holiday weekend? 10 years in I.T. and I have never done anything remotely close to that. You do it during “down” times, not peak hours on peak weekends.
Seems fishy to me.

Mark L. Jackson on May 25, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Glitch? Let’s ask the “Truthers”. They’ll know.

Rich B on May 25, 2007 at 6:28 pm

Do a Google on Air Traffic Controllers and you will see that this crowd is competing with the U.S. Senate for the ineptness crown.
Not a chance this was done by the bad guys. Just SNAFU.

Happiness Pursuer on May 25, 2007 at 9:55 pm

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