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OOPS: Spy Plane Fries Air Traffic Control Computers, Shuts Down LAX

by Andrew Blankstein, NBC News:

A major air traffic control center in California Wednesday that led to delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights across the country, sources familiar with the incident told NBC News.

On Wednesday at about 2 p.m., according to sources, a U-2 spy plane, the same type of aircraft that flew high-altitude spy missions over Russia 50 years ago, passed through the airspace monitored by the L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale, Ca. The L.A. Center handles landings and departures at the region’s major airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX), San Diego and Las Vegas.

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3 comments to OOPS: Spy Plane Fries Air Traffic Control Computers, Shuts Down LAX

  • Plistkin

    The excuse that a computational glitch in the ATC computers caused this by having a contact out of normal parameters does not sound right. I was an electronics computer tech in the 80s and worked on ATC equipment. A contact data that presents a data over run or overflow in a real time data acquisition system will flush and ignore that data so as not to halt on error the system. This is a function is both main frame and pcs. That’s where the term Bit Bucket comes from. Something else needs to be discussed.

    • Hannon

      Given you’re expertise, what do you think they were covering up? Perhaps some of Russia’s new electronic warfare kit?

  • Plistkin

    The systems I worked on were older but I think the concepts are the same. If I were to guess, several possibilities. Old archaic systems that are becoming unreliable. Maintenance and systems updates, software patches etc. not being done, maybe malware. Would a reasonable person believe that a major ATC system and backup created a multi hour shutdown because one contacts tract data was not being processed properly?

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