FAA: Test indicates all systems are go

A successful year 2000 air traffic control test at the Denver International Airport
this month convinced the Federal Aviation Administration that all of its systems will
perform A-OK on Jan. 1.

“The test went flawlessly,” said Timothy Gilbert, technical director of
FAA’s Year 2000 Program Office.

FAA on April 10 and 11 split air traffic systems at the Denver International Airport
tower; the Denver Terminal Radar Control Center; the Colorado Springs, Colo., Terminal
Radar Control Center; the Grand Junction, Colo., tower, and the Longmont, Colo., en route

One part of each system handled aircraft as normal. The other part ran the test. The
agency forwarded the test systems’ clocks to Dec. 31 and let them roll over to the
new year.

“A preliminary analysis of this data shows that the performance of the systems on
both sides was virtually identical,” FAA administrator Jane F. Garvey said.
“This indicates to us that air traffic systems on Jan. 1, 2000, will perform just as
they did on Dec. 31, 1999.”

FAA plans to do more testing through June.

FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., analyzed the test
data, Gilbert said. The test involved all flight systems, including those for processing
radar, weather and flight plan data, he said.

The systems included the new Host system, an IBM 9672 Model RA4 parallel-processing
server, which collects flight plan and radar data, and forwards it to controllers at 20 en
route centers. The agency also tested the systems its uses to drive the controller
displays at its radar control centers.

FAA plotted the movement of United Airlines Flight 2778, which landed at Denver during
the test. It showed identical data on Flight 2778 from live systems and test systems at
the Denver radar control center and the Longmont en route center, he said.  


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