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FAA Alert: United delays all flights nationwide due to ‘equipment outage’

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The FAA alert says the airline requested that all flights be held at their departure airports—known as a ground stop—until 2 p.m. EDT. The agency did not elaborate, referring questions to United. “We are experiencing a systemwide technology issue and are holding all aircraft at their departure airports,” (www.cnn.com) More...

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TimDyck
Tim Dyck 10
I remember back in the 80s when I was on the cutting edge of electronic controls industry and gave it up because I saw a future of unreliability. I said then that as we become more and more dependent on electronics we will have less and less reliability. So I went into the maintenance end of things and have made a good living fixing the electronic nightmares that have taken over our lives.
Remember that your lives are in the hands of cheap electronic components made by slave labour overseas. And the software is written by people who work in a tiny cubical and live off donuts and coffee.
wcraycroft
Smells like yet another mission-critical system with single-point failure modes.
The technology to design redundant, fail-safe and fault-tolerant systems has been around for 50 years. And yes, it's more expensive. With that said, anyone want to guess what this outage cost United?
mbrews
mbrews 2
Read my post below. “flights unable to connect w/ dispatch by normal methods “. The incident happened on the Tuesday following a USA Labor Day holiday.

I would speculate this happened due to rollout of a complex multilayer software modification. They were lucky it only took 2 hours to modify or rollback.

leroyk
Leroy Kelley 2
Or someone pushed an untested network modification.
ghstark
Greg S 2
Does anybody remember the 'untied.com' website? Way back when a disgruntled passenger grabbed the domain that's a common misspelling of 'united.com' by the fat-fingered and dyslexic. Of course, I discovered it by just such an accident. Good times. It still exists but returns what is basically an empty page.
mbrews
mbrews 2
Seems that, due to an erroneous software update, " The airline’s flights were unable to connect to dispatch through normal methods " Source : a Wall Street Journal report
SeanAwning
Sean Awning 4
At least it wasn't triggered by "an anomaly in the airspace manager’s software system, which confused two geographical checkpoints separated by some 4,000 nautical miles" like the Nats failure in UK. The software couldn't figure out which of the two points was indicated and, since nobody had coded it to ask for help on such an event, it just sat by itself in a dark corner waiting. Ah, coding!
SeanAwning
Sean Awning 3
PS -- don't believe me? Search OpenNav for waypoint PINTO. There's one in Colombia, one in Chile, and one in Idaho. There's no global coordination of waypoint names. Happy aviating!
TimDyck
Tim Dyck 5
I believe you because I already read other articles about this event. Not sure why you would think others won’t believe you.
SeanAwning
Sean Awning 2
I certainly wouldn't have believed it, if I hadn't encountered the duplicate names problem years ago inputting a simulated trip into Flight Planner. The resulting map display was not what I expected, it was almost surreal. I thought IATA or ICAO would oversee the 5-letter Waypoint names so they would be globally unique. But it seems individual countries control the Waypoint names. Of course, FMCs are infallible and always pick the right waypint if there are duplicates, right?
bobinson66
bobinson66 2
I have no Idea if this is related but I tried to purchase a ticked on united.com during the outage and was unable to do so due to a server error on United's end. I was able to make the purchase later in the day.
SeanAwning
Sean Awning 2
Ground stop lifted.
https://abcnews.go.com/US/united-airlines-issues-nationwide-ground-stop-due-computer/story?id=102935382
The ground stop [reportedly] delayed 211 flights nationwide.

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