ERAM Failure Linked To U-2 Flight
NBC News is reporting that a U-2 spy plane caused the air traffic control failure that backed up traffic to and from Los Angeles basin airports last Wednesday. The computer glitch caused a ground stop that rippled delays across the country and lasted more than two hours. It was an En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system at the L.A. Center in Palmdale that failed. ERAM is a big part of the Next Gen system and according to the NBC report had a big problem resolving a false conflict between the U-2 and airliners streaming into and out of the L.A. area.
Quoting unnamed sources, the network said the U-2 was at 60,000 feet but ERAM "overloaded" trying to keep it from colliding with traffic ten miles below. The FAA said the problem was a "flight plan processing issue" but would not confirm a U-2's involvement. The agency also said it has fixed the unspecified problem and it shouldn't happen again. None of the U-2 operators in the area are saying whether it was one of their aircraft that caused the meltdown.