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Category: 

Shipping_and_Transportation

Date: 

1998-05-02 08:24:25

Subject: 

FAA: 23 Million Lines, 50 Languages

  Link:

http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/INST/apr98/y2kprob.html

Comment: 

The Federal Aviation Administration has to go through 23 million lines of ancient legacy code, written in 50 languages.

"No problem!" says FAA chief, Jane Garvey. We read: "Jane F. Garvey, FAA Administrator, testifying before Congress recently in response to the GAO's report, assured the members of the House Committee on Science that the FAA will be ready. 'Aviation safety will not be compromised. Ensuring that we meet this challenge is one of my top priorities,' said Garvey, while admitting that the FAA is behind schedule."

(I can't help it. I keep thinking of those Johnny Weismiller movies. "Me Tarzan. You Jane. This Cheeta. Jane, you beginning to sound like Cheeta.")

This is from THE INSTITUTE.

* * * * * * *

With 1 Jan. 2000 less than two years away and concern growing over the year 2000 programming problem, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is still in an "awareness" phase, which means it hasn't developed a course of action to make its air traffic control infrastructure Y2K compliant.

Maybe it's not time to panic, but concern is definitely in order.

According to a report by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), the FAA has failed to designate problem areas and has no way of knowing how serious its Y2K problem is or what it will do to address it.

Making the skies safe for 1 Jan. 2000 is no small task: With 23 million lines of code, 50 computer languages and more than 250 computer systems, the FAA has a difficult road ahead. Randy Schwitz, executive vice president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said NATCA has been following the FAA's progress -- or lack thereof -- and things aren't pretty.

"We've been watching to see if they're meeting time lines, and they're not," said Schwitz, adding that controllers "are not optimistic" about the situation.

"They're very aware of it and they don't believe they (FAA) can do it on time," he said.

Jane F. Garvey, FAA Administrator, testifying before Congress recently in response to the GAO's report, assured the members of the House Committee on Science that the FAA will be ready. "Aviation safety will not be compromised. Ensuring that we meet this challenge is one of my top priorities," said Garvey, while admitting that the FAA is behind schedule.

SHUTDOWN. The biggest problem, according to Schwitz, will be the possible shutdown of the host computer which ties together the 20 air traffic control centers in the U.S. that control aircraft after they leave the airports. . . .

Another big problem, said Schwitz, is the lack of a contingency plan. The controllers need to be trained to handle the problems that will arise if the systems fail. After all, this doesn't happen every day. There is a backup system called DARC (direct access radar channel) but Schwitz said that the FAA is not sure if DARC is Y2K compliant either. . . .

The GAO report says the systems in use are "unique to the FAA and not off-the-shelf systems that can be easily maintained by system vendors."

Link: 

http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/INST/apr98/y2kprob.html

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