Spy plane causes air traffic chaos


A spy plane used during the Cold War has been blamed for a computer glitch that caused air-traffic chaos.

A spy plane used during the Cold War has been blamed for a computer glitch that caused air traffic chaos last week, grounding hundreds of planes at Los Angeles International Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the plane was responsible for severe problems with air traffic in western US states.

According to the BBC, the meltdown occurred when software mistakenly thought the spy plane was on a collison course with other aeroplanes. The system became overloaded as it attempted to plan new courses for the aircrafts it believed would be affected.

Flights were grounded at LA and many more were also delayed at smaller airports in the area as the system was rebooted.

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford spoke about the incident saying, "On April 30 2014, an FAA air-traffic system that processes flight-plan information experienced problems while processing a flight plan filed for a U-2 aircraft that operates at very high altitudes under visual flight rules".

She said that the computer system had "misinterpreted" the U-2 as a more typical low-altitude flight and become overwhelmed in trying to make sure its flight path did not conflict with other air traffic in the area.

"The FAA resolved the issue within an hour, and then immediately adjusted the system to now require specific altitude information for each flight plan," she added.

The FAA said that it has now added more flight-processing memory to the computer system to prevent any further glitches.

The Pentagon confirmed on Monday that an Air Force U-2 spy plane had been conducting training operations in the area.

The U-2 spy plane was used to fly reconnaissance missions during the Cold War, and there are plans to retire the planes within the next few years.

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