FAA’s computers have problems – news you wished you hadn’t known

By Daily Maverick Legacy 8 October 2009

A new computer system that is central to America’s air traffic control network has problems, giving rise to fears it will not cut the mustard when it must come on line in 15 months. The Federal Aviation Administration unsuccessfully tried to use the new computer system last weekend at a regional air traffic control centre, the first of 20 regional facilities where the computers are supposed to go on line in 2010. The FAA’s contract with IBM for the current system expires and it relies upon the obscure computer language, Jovial, that fewer and fewer IT pros can use. Not funny, that. This new system is a key component of FAA plans to switch over from World War II-period radar to one based on satellite technology. The whole system will cost $35 billion when finished. At least.

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