FAA Goofs On Approach Plate

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Imagine the surprise, and the annoyance, of passengers and airport officials last week when an FAA error caused 33 flight delays and diversions and generally messed up operations at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Virginia. It seems the FAA recently published an approach plate for an ILS there which had not yet been certified for use. The approach in question has caused many problems at the airport and part of the plan to fix it was installation of a new localizer. The ILS work got bogged down, however, and the airport told the FAA of the delay. Big Brother, apparently, wasn't listening. You know the rest. The FAA continued redesigning the approach and published the new plate Jan. 23, before it had certified the new ILS.  Someone in one FAA office discovered the mistake Jan. 24, but officials in Newport News TRACON did not receive notification of the problem until Jan. 29, when the flights had to be cancelled or diverted until an FAA flight crew tested and officially verified the ILS system.