ZJX Lost Nine Radar Facilities, Half Its Radio Frequencies
ANN REALTIME UPDATE
11.09.07 2050 EDT: NATCA spokesman Doug Church tells ANN
Jacksonville Center is back up and running normal operations,
following a 50-minute communications and radar outage earlier this
afternoon that created some tense moments, with air traffic
controllers in most of the facility left without the ability to
talk to aircraft or even see aircraft on their scopes.
The outage also caused a number of delays involving aircraft
headed to and from the lower Southeastern United States, including
Florida. The outage, which NATCA believes was caused by human error
at the local Jacksonville-area office of a major telecommunications
company that provides the infrastructure to the FAA, began at
approximately 12:40 pm EST and ended at approximately 1:30 pm
"We watched airplanes fly through our airspace with no means of
communicating with them," said Jacksonville Center’s NATCA
Facility Representative, Dave Cook. The facility lost nine of its
16 radar sites and half of its radio frequencies, according to
Making matters worse, Cook added, was the fact that the FAA
prohibits controllers from having cell phones in the control room.
Therefore, communications to other air traffic control facilities
to notify them of aircraft headed to and from their airspace was
Cook said it does not appear that any incidents of losses of
minimum separation occurred. However, he added, there were numerous
incidents of what are called "deviations," which means controllers
in neighboring facilities to ZJX received no advance notification
of aircraft that suddenly showed up in their airspace... which is a
major potential safety problem.
1420 EST: The National Air Traffic Controllers
Association tells ANN controllers at Jacksonville Air Route Traffic
Control Center have lost all of their radio frequencies -- used to
communicate with pilots -- and also their landline phone
communications to communicate with other air traffic control
As a result, the FAA has ordered a ground stop for Jacksonville
Center, which means all aircraft whose route of flight takes them
into Jacksonville Center's airspace are now holding on the ground
at their departure airports.
According to the FAA, the ground hold is affecting airports
including Orlando, Washington DC, Newark, and Atlanta. Jacksonville
Center is the nation's seventh-busiest en-route center.
ZJX handles airspace extending west to roughly the
Florida-Alabama border, south to Orlando, north to southern
Georgia, northeast to roughly the North Carolina-South Carolina
border, and out into the Atlantic Ocean, handling major north-south
air routes for traffic coming to and from Florida and the
Northeastern United States.