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posted by n1 on Monday May 05 2014, @07:21AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the cant-afford-to-retire dept.

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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  • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Monday May 05 2014, @07:51AM

    by aristarchus (2645) on Monday May 05 2014, @07:51AM (#39706) Journal

    Adalai Stevenson may have felt much the same way. Gary Powers, on the other hand, knew he had been busted. So aren't they at least supposed to tell us that they will be spying on us when such spying on us could cause us to know that they are spying on us? Or at least some no-fly or no-radar zones. Just to be polite.

    #Freearistarchus, again!!!!!1!!
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mcgrew on Monday May 05 2014, @02:03PM

      by mcgrew (701) <> on Monday May 05 2014, @02:03PM (#39786) Homepage Journal

      The U2s' home is in the US; it was Beale back when I was stationed there in 1975. It may have been temporary; there were B-52 loaded with atomic weapons. I thought they were all armed, but I found out recently that only a few of the hundreds there were armed. My guess was Beale was a temporary staging area for bombers used in the Vietnam war; congress halted bombing a little over a year earlier. There were also nine SR-71s (VERY impressive machinery).

      There was at least one U2 at Utapao, Thailand when I was stationed there. But the U2s aren't spying on us; they're simply not needed for that. There are far cheaper and easier ways to spy on Americans.

      Free Martian whores! []
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @08:34AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @08:34AM (#39712)

    If what you need to see can't wait until a spy satellite passes over it, that must be a really important something--enough so that it is bristling with SAM batteries. []

    As has already been mentioned, it was demonstrated over 50 years ago [] that this aircraft is simply a target over an area with any significant military presence.

    Clearly this was a spy mission against the American people by its own government.

    -- gewg_

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Aighearach on Monday May 05 2014, @09:47AM

      by Aighearach (2621) on Monday May 05 2014, @09:47AM (#39721)

      As has been shown consistently for over 50 years, this plane is really hard to shoot down, operates all over the world, and is rarely lost.

    • (Score: 2) by Foobar Bazbot on Tuesday May 06 2014, @03:09AM

      by Foobar Bazbot (37) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @03:09AM (#40010) Journal

      Obviously, "gewg__" is a government employee conducting a false-flag operation. By posting comments like the above, they hope to make the public perceive all critics of domestic spying as paranoid morons.

      But seriously, the sort of fact-free speculation exhibited above is exactly why it took so long to finally make the public accept the truth about Room 641A. Would it kill you to wait for actual evidence before drawing conclusions, or at least not to present them as proven fact? You may not care about your own credibility, but you hurt the credibility of all surveillance-state opposers when you post stuff like that and it gets proven false.

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Dunbal on Monday May 05 2014, @11:07AM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Monday May 05 2014, @11:07AM (#39728)

    I guess the computer system can only deal with aircraft up to 32767 feet and this baby at 65536 feet caused a sign error that crashed the program?

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 05 2014, @11:22AM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 05 2014, @11:22AM (#39732)

      More likely something best described by

      70e3 - ( 2 ** 16 ) = 4500 or so, then a massive freakout because there's a U-2 at 70000 ft and a 777 at 4500 ft, although they never approach closer than 12 miles or so.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Monday May 05 2014, @05:25PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Monday May 05 2014, @05:25PM (#39861)

      So that's how that Malaysian flight vanished...
      ATC told them "climb to 340", and the sign error sent them to -1700 ft!!!
      Note to self: tell my next pilot not to exceed FL320.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @11:32AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 05 2014, @11:32AM (#39734)

    According to a post at slashdot []:

    It was a NASA owned U-2. ... Source: I'm an air traffic controller at Denver En-route ARTCC.

    Tt was a NASA owned U2 doing atmospheric testing. No spying involved. The story here is the computer problem, not domestic spying. Sharing the post here because our audience is probably too small to have an air traffic controller in that area amongst us, thus this is the easiest way to get that little tidbit, which isn't in the story.