It’s not a near-miss — it’s a near-hit!

If you were on an airplane in the sky over Southern California this past Tuesday, you might very well have heard cockpit alarms go off as several aircraft came perilously close to each other. And while the FAA denies any one was in any danger:

“It was very dangerous,” said Mark Sherry, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. “This is as ugly as it gets, short of running two airplanes together. We could have had 10 airplanes go down.”

The problem? A “lapse in routine maintenance.” Wheeee! Full story over at the Daily News.

And if this makes you rather leery of traveling by air, why not check out one of these fine Human-Powered Vehicles (HPVs)? ;)

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One Reply to “It’s not a near-miss — it’s a near-hit!”

  1. The LA Times had a story about this and it turns out that the “human error” was failing to reboot the Windows machine once every 49 days.

    Of course this was not required when the system was *nix.

    Maybe the human error was replacing a failsafe system with a consumer-grade one?

    Reminds me of those EULAs that state “this software is not to be used for the operation of nuclear reactors or air traffic control systems”.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-faa16sep16,1,3729661.story

    “… the quirk in the system, known as Voice Switching and Control System, is a “design anomaly” that should have been corrected after it was discovered last year in Atlanta.

    As originally designed, the VSCS system used computers that ran on an operating system known as Unix, said Ray Baggett, vice president for the union’s western region.

    The VSCS system was built for the FAA by Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Fla., at a cost of more than $1.5 billion.

    When the system was upgraded about a year ago, the original computers were replaced by Dell computers using Microsoft software. Baggett said the Microsoft software contained an internal clock designed to shut the system down after 49.7 days to prevent it from becoming overloaded with dat”

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