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1998-05-29 07:48:51


FAA Says It Will Meet Deadline: July, 1999



The FAA has said repeatedly that it will meet the deadline.

It has never explained how.

It has 30 IBM 3083 computers at the heart of its system that IBM says no one understands any more. But bureaucrats in management at the FAA are much more technically adept than IBM technicians are. Well, maybe not more technically adept. Media adept. The FAA can overcome y2k with a press conference.

Here's how it works. You call in reporters and assorted experts. You tell the audience, "We can fix it, and for no extra money." Reporters ditifully write this down abd publish it as straight news.

Reporters are not interested in hearing "it can't be fixed" stories because such stories point to the fact that reporters may be out of work in 2000. So, they want happy-face stories. After all, reporters are not gutsy enough to find out if their employers' computers are going to be compliant. Why should they ask embarrassing questions of the FAA?

Here are a few: (1) What computer have you bought to replace the old IBM 3083 units? (2) How many programmers are working on the data conversion? (3) When did you hire them? (4) From which leasing firm did you lease the excess computer capacity needed to run parallel testing in 1999? (5) Did you adopt full date expansion for the century, or some other approach? (6) Is there any compliant airport in the U.S.? (7) On what date will you shut down all noncompliant airports? (8) What is your date deadline for the conversion and full testing of airliners? (9) What airliner currently in production is 2000-compliant? (10) What brands and models of radar units are 2000-compliant? (11) Will all airlines and airports be required by the FAA to have these radar units installed by late 1999?

But they never ask, because they do not want to know. So they do not want us to know.

In late December, 1999, there will be no commercial airline industry in the United States. If any banks are still open by then, they had better hope they loaned no money to the airline industry.

This is from PC WEEK (June 1).

* * * * * * * * *

According to [Mary] Powers-King, the FAA will complete its renovation by June, its testing by March 1999 and its implementation by June 1999. To conduct this work, the FAA is already using its own employees and contractors with the agency. Both officials are working with independent auditors to ensure that the work is accurate.


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