Memory issue disrupts FAA air traffic control system

Data in memory was not flushed when air traffic controllers deleted it

A memory problem in the traffic management system of the Federal Aviation Administration resulted in the disruption of flights on the U.S. East Coast on Saturday, according to the agency.

The FAA said Monday that data was not removed from the flight control system even after air traffic controllers deleted it, until the storage limit was filled, putting demands on the processing power required for the smooth functioning of the overall En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system.

On Sunday, FAA said a recent software upgrade to a high-altitude radar facility at Leesburg, Virginia had possibly led to the disruption, but did not provide details. It maintains that ERAM has had a greater than 99.99 percent availability rate since it was installed nationwide earlier this year.

The system replaced a 40-year-old En Route Host computer and backup system used at 20 FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers across the nation.

A new function in the latest ERAM software upgrade lets controllers set up customized windows of frequently referenced data. The data was to be completely removed from the system as controllers deleted it, which didn't happen.

FAA temporarily suspended the use of the function and is working with contractor, Lockheed Martin, to find a permanent solution. The contractor is also investigating why the problem was not identified during the testing of the system.

The agency said Sunday that an automation problem had led to delays and cancellations at airports in the Washington, D.C., area on Saturday, with preliminary information indicating 492 delays and 476 cancellations.

Traffic at three major airports in the area dropped to between 70 and 88 percent of normal average traffic levels on Saturdays, after controllers fell back on backup systems and procedures.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?