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Saturday, May 03, 2014

Spy Plane shuts down LAX Air Traffic Control.

Hidden disruption: It is believed a U.S. Air Force U-2 spy plane forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights on Wednesday afternoon

Norio Hayakawa

Shared publicly6:46 PM
April 30, 2014...
Electronic Warfare platform shuts down LAX Air Traffic Control. "Sources" say it was a U2. Was it really?:

On Wednesday at about 2 p.m., according to sources, a U-2 spy plane, the same type of aircraft that flew high-altitude spy missions over Russia 50 years ago, passed through the airspace monitored by the L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale, Calif. 

The U-2 planes which were created in the 1950s to monitor Soviet nuclear sites. More recently they listened to Taliban phone calls and gave information on where Predator and Reaper drones should be deployed.

Government officials were not immediately sure why the system had failed. 

Areas affected by the shutdown included Southern California, western Arizona, southern Nevada and part of Utah.
Going nowhere: Hundreds of flights were either cancelled or diverted from Los Angeles Airport, one of the countries biggest airports

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The L.A. Center handles landings and departures at the region’s major airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX), San Diego and Las Vegas.
The computers at the L.A. Center are programmed to keep commercial airliners and other aircraft from colliding with each other. The U-2 was flying at 60,000 feet, but the computers were attempting to keep it from colliding with planes that were actually miles beneath it.

Though the exact technical causes are not known, the spy plane’s altitude and route apparently overloaded a computer system called ERAM, which generates display data for air-traffic controllers. Back-up computer systems also failed.
As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had to stop accepting flights into airspace managed by the L.A. Center, issuing a nationwide ground stop that lasted for about an hour and affected thousands of passengers.
Sources told NBC News that the plane was a U-2 with a Defense Department flight plan. “It was a ‘Dragon Lady,’” said one source, using the nickname for the plane. Edwards Air Force Base is 30 miles north of the L.A. Center. Both Edwards and NASA’s Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, which is located at Edwards, have been known to host U-2s and similar, successor aircraft.

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