Air Traffic Software Glitch Leads To Multiple Florida Ground Stops


The FAA says a system error on Monday (Jan. 2) that caused flight delays associated with major Florida airports has been fixed. “The computer issue has been resolved,” the agency wrote in a statement. “The FAA is working toward safely returning to a normal traffic rate in the Florida airspace.”

Known as the En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system, the software is designed to leverage airborne precision navigation capability to help air traffic control to maximize traffic flow. When it malfunctioned on Monday, ATC facilities were forced to resort to a ground stop until the problems could be resolved. The issue with the ERAM system led to dozens of delays, according to news reports, just a week after massive storms created havoc with the national airspace system over the Christmas holiday weekend.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Was on the ground at PBI for about 2 hours. It was pretty wild. Even VFR departures were not allowed, which was frustrating. Although airlines were not part of the ground hold. They were allowed to come and go. Maybe they are handled by a different system?

    • HAHAAA. Love it!

      The airlines MUST be using a different system than the rest of us poor schlubs! Gotta wonder why they get preferential treatment vs the rest of us ALL the time. #’s game? Frustrating!

      When we got to our hotel in Nassau, a guy came up to us while we were checking in and asked if we were BACK to the hotel? We said no, we’d just arrived. He then proceeded to tell us one of their crews that sat for 8 hours with the APU running trying to get a clearance! We had just arrived from ATL area so we must’ve missed it?

      What a shit show!

    • The airlines were just let off the hold first. Private departures from major airports are always on as available departure spots. The airlines research the departure times.

  2. I think I see their problem. They were leveraging their precision maximizing when they should have maximized their leveraging precision. Rookie mistake.

    • They tried, but they mistook their minimized leverage for problem maximization. Han had to deal with it quite often. Just one of many miniature Wookie mistakes.

  3. Data corruption was one of the worries when ‘modernizing’. Long range beacon radar was likely not matching ADS-B… computer got confused. Can be caused by a GPS jamming. The military reports their jamming so that the data stream can be removed.
    This is what I was warned about when I suggested moving to an ADS-B type system. It can be jammed and there must be a backup. But when do you trust the GPS ADS-B data over the beacon radar?
    Not saying this is what happened… but it could.

    • You have to decide which is truth data, and stick with it.

      Radar is not as accurate with slower updates, but less likely to be jammed/spoofed. So, treat it as truth data.

      If ADS-B does not match truth data within Xft horizontal and Yft vertical, you throw the ADS-B out.