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in “ Tech news in brief“, 
January 12, 2023.

A damaged file grounds thousands of flights

Preflight checking.

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On the morning of January 11, an outage of the NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) system grounded over 11,000 US flights. This system equips flight officers with information about any possible flight hazard. Pilots are obligated to consult these instructions to ensure maximum safety of their flight. The FAA explained that the outage was due to a corrupt database file. Air traffic controllers started to notice the problem the previous evening and requested a system reboot. As this takes ninety minutes, the process was launched in the early hours of the next day, so as not to disrupt the morning-rush air traffic. Unfortunately, not only did the reboot do nothing to fix the problem, but it made the system even more sluggish, according to CNN. Add to that the realization that the backup file was also corrupt. Off-the-record sources blame it on the system’s complexity and an outdated tech infrastructure whose updates have been repeatedly put off due to cutbacks. There are some things you can’t forever skimp on, and software modernization are one. An anonymous source said to CNN, “I assume now they’re going to actually find money to do it.”

Ars Technica, Tom Warren, “FAA outage that grounded flights blamed on old tech and damaged database file.”


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