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1998-02-05 07:50:05


FAA: 23 Million Lines of Code. Ready for Testing in Nov. 1999



The Federal Avition Administration has admitted to Congress that the FAA faces a major task. But, of course, the lady in charge of the repair assured Congress that the FAA will make these repairs, despite the fact that it is still using ancient compuers that IBM says cannot be fixed. An agency that still uses tube radar units from the 1950's is on top of the y2k problem.

The ludicrous nature of the FAA's promise is the fact that it vows to be ready for testing (i.e., implemented) in November, 1999. Testing comprises at least 40% of most y2k repair projects, 70% in some. No one knows, since no large-scale y2k project (20 million lines or more) has ever been completed and tested.

The Reuters headline says it all: "U.S. Lawmakers Doubt FAA Can Fix 2000 Glitch."

(Because the story is on Yahoo!, the link won't be live for long.)

* * * * * * *

FAA Administrator Jane Garvey vowed to fix the problem in time, but lawmakers and other witnesses at the hearing were skeptical.

"How can I believe today's FAA schedules when previous FAA schedules have been so far off?" asked Steve Horn, the California Republican who chairs the House Government Reform subcommittee on technology. . . .

The implications are huge for both domestic and international air travel. The FAA's authority stretches from the western Atlantic to within 500 miles of Tokyo -- 55 percent of the world's air traffic.

Garvey, who has been on the job just six months, did not play down the problems. She said the air traffic computers alone have more than 23 million lines of code -- the programming that tells computers what to do -- in 50 computer languages, distributed among 250 different systems. . . .

She said reports that air traffic could be cut by 50 percent if the fixes were not made in time were "a slight exaggeration." . . .

A report last year by the National Civil Aviation Review Commission warned of aviation gridlock that could set in soon after 2000 and damage the U.S. economy.

Transportation Inspector General Kenneth Mead told the hearing it was not until about six months ago that FAA began tackling the 2000 issue with a sense of urgency. . . .

The FAA's date of November 1999 for implementing a solution to the 2000 problem was too close for comfort, and the date should be be no later than June 1999, Mead said. "While money is important, the real issue is time," he said.

The administration's Office of Management and Budget has set a March 1999 target date for full implementation by all agencies.


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