FAA's ATC Automation Fails — Again

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The FAA's flight plan processing automation failed on Thursday morning, causing widespread flight delays and cancellations nationwide. It's the second time in 15 months that a widespread outage has degraded the agency's ATC automation, forcing controllers to enter flight data into ARTCC processing systems by hand. FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto told the Wall Street Journal early Thursday that the outage began around 5:15 a.m. and delays on the East coast rippled westward as the sun came up.

Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, which serves as a hub for many transcontinental flights, was heavily impacted. By mid-morning Thursday, the agency appeared to be sorting out the problem, which affected both flight plan processing and the flight tracking automation controllers used to separate aircraft