A computer problem at the Federal Aviation Administration center in Atlanta has created air traffic problems across the country.
From WSB Radio in Atlanta:
FAA Computer Problems: Failure in the system that processes flight plans in the eastern U.S. FAA says no danger is involved. System that processes the information for the east coast is based in Atlanta. It has been moved to a facility in Utah which usually processes only west coast flights. Flights across the country are backing up.
Here's a screen capture from the FAA, showing delayed flights:
Information on the outage is still sketchy and I'm looking forward to learning whether this is a hardware or software problem. Either way, sounds like a truly massive outage.
Update 8/26/08 10:15 pm EDT: According to CNN, things are back to normal:
Airports experienced hours of flight delays Tuesday afternoon after a communications breakdown at a Federal Aviation Administration facility, the administration said.
The facility south of Atlanta had problems processing data, requiring that all flight-plan information be processed through a facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, overloading that facility.
"The situation is pretty much resolved," FAA spokeswoman Diane Spitaliere said.
Sounds to me like an unexpectedly large breakdown, for which full scenario planning had not been performed. All the same, considering the scope of effort required to transfer flight processing across the country, it could have been much worse.