Wed, Jul 19, 2006
The Night The Lights Went Out In L.A.
Were you stuck on the ground Tuesday evening, unable to depart
from a California airport? If so, you weren't alone... as a power
outage at the FAA's Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center in
Palmdale meant nearly all air traffic around Los Angeles -- and as
far away as the San Francisco Bay Area -- was grounded for as much
as 90 minutes.
"All departing flights at LAX of at least 13,000 feet --
essentially all our flights -- have been grounded," said Nancy
Castles, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles International Airport
(LAX), to Reuters. That worked out to 221 flights... with as many
as 25,000 grumbling passengers, she added.
Power was restored when the center's backup generator kicked in
shortly before 7 p.m., said FAA regional spokesman Allen Kenitzer
to the Associated Press.
Some flights that had taken off before the outage had to turn
around and land, as the outage meant their flights couldn't be
handed off to controllers handling planes through Los Angeles
airspace. Flights already on the ground stayed there... forcing
many passengers to deal with cancelled flights, as room on other
planes wasn't immediately available.
The agency is now investigating not only why the power went out
at the ARTCC in the first place -- but also why it took an hour and
a half for the backup system to kick into gear.
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