About Time, or Better Late Than Never

The FAA is finally taking a break from its thoughtless, irresponsible and reckless pursuit of testing its next generation enroute air traffic control display software on the flying public.

Within the last few days, apparently the FAA has decided to stop running the new software on live traffic and make an “assessment” of the program, although certainly not by its own accord.

Since last year, the FAA has been routinely running its En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM software), still under development, on live traffic, with many known critical bugs at three key sites, including including Salt Lake Center (ZLC), Seattle Center (ZSE), and Minneapolis Center (ZMP).

In spite of the fact that the FAA and the program contractor, Lockheed Martin, …

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I’ve Been ERAMmed

In the event people are visiting to see more updates on En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM), I’ll try and make this short.

ERAM, the replacement computer/display system for enroute center controllers, is still experiencing problems and the FAA continues to use it on live air traffic.  In other words, not much has changed.

The most critical ERAM bugs that I’m aware of (outside of outright display failures/lockups – big red “X”s) involve data block/tracking issues, some of which haven’t been corrected even though they’ve been known of for some time.  The absolute worst tracking bug is when a data block drops off a target and the accompanying flight plan is simultaneously deleted.  Other critical tracking bugs involve data blocks tracking …

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Complacency: Laziness, or Learned?

After a recent incident gained media attention, there were accusations that the FAA and its air traffic controllers had grown complacent in regards to safety.

The latest incident involved a veteran controller at New York’s JFK airport, who had his children relay some air traffic clearances on the radio frequency.

The JFK incident was the third in a string of recent air traffic control related incidents that made the headlines, including last summer’s mid-air collision near Teterboro airport in New Jersey of two VFR aircraft, as well as the incident last fall where Northwest 188 lost contact with air traffic control and eventually overflew its destination.

Always ready to put on the proper face to the media, the top …

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