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Transportation The Military

U-2 Caused Widespread Shutdown of US Flights Out of LAX 128

Posted by timothy
from the that-bono-is-such-a-ham dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Reuters reports that last week's computer glitch at a California air traffic control center that led officials to halt takeoffs at Los Angeles International Airport was caused by a U-2 spy plane still in use by the US military, passing through air space monitored by the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center that appears to have overloaded ERAM, a computer system at the center. According to NBC News, computers at the center began operations to prevent the U-2 from colliding with other aircraft, even though the U-2 was flying at an altitude of 60,000 feet and other airplanes passing through the region's air space were miles below. FAA technical specialists resolved the specific issue that triggered the problem on Wednesday, and the FAA has put in place mitigation measures as engineers complete development of software changes," said the agency in a statement. "The FAA will fully analyze the event to resolve any underlying issues that contributed to the incident and prevent a reoccurrence." The U.S. Air Force is still flying U-2s, but plans to retire them within the next few years. The U-2 was slated for retirement in 2006 in favor of the unmanned Global Hawk Block 30 system, before the Air Force pulled an about-face two years ago and declared the Global Hawk too expensive and insufficient for the needs of combatant commanders."
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U-2 Caused Widespread Shutdown of US Flights Out of LAX

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  • by rossdee (243626) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @08:44AM (#46912337)

    I remember hearing an anecdote about the SR71 Blackbird
    A Blackbird is entering commercial airspace over CA
    Pilot requests Flight level 70 (thousand Feet)
    Controller laughs. If you can reach it you're welcome to it.
    Blackbird pilot replies "descending from flight level 100"

    Of couirse it may be an urban legend. But the SR71 could go that high

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 04, 2014 @09:10AM (#46912439)

    Um... Flight levels go in 100s of feet, so flight level 70 equals 7000 feet. 300+ flight levels are quite common these days for commercial aircraft.
    The story could still be true, but it would have been flight levels 1000 and 700

  • by nuonguy (264254) <nuonguy@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Sunday May 04, 2014 @10:01AM (#46912627)

    You might be talking about this copypasta:

    Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren. Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. “Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check.” Before Center could reply, I'm thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a read-out? Then I got it, ol' Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He's the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: “Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground.”

    And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done - in mere seconds we'll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn. Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it - the click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?” There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if was an everyday request. “Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.”

    I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: “Ah, Center, much thanks, we're showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money.” For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice, when L.A. came back with, “Roger that Aspen. Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one.”

    It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest, the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on freq were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day's work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.

    From here [expressjetpilots.com] and here [imgur.com].

  • by wiredlogic (135348) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @10:26AM (#46912699)

    This could be a cover story for something they don't want to disclose. Just go back to watching the circus, Citizen.

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp

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