Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Spy Plane Disrupts Air Traffic Control Computers, Shuts Down LAX | VIDEO

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Spy Plane Disrupts Air Traffic Control Computers, Shuts Down LAX

By Mike M. Ahlers

     (CNN) -- A very old spy plane and a very new computer system played pivotal roles in last week's computer glitch that temporarily paralyzed flight operations in southern California, officials tell CNN.

The problem involved a U-2 aircraft, the type famed for conducting reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

A Federal Aviation Administration computer system interpreted the U-2's flight path at a very high altitude as if it were flying in a much lower and more crowded airspace.

The computer -- which anticipates the flight path and looks for possible conflicts such as other aircraft or restricted airspace -- was overtaxed by the many flight changes the U-2 had plotted, officials said.

That work used much of the computer's memory and interrupted its other flight-processing functions, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said in a statement. . . .

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