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Air Force: U-2 did not scramble LAX computers

May. 5, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
CENTAF Airpower Summary for April 3, 2007
NBC News reported that a U-2 caused the computers at Los Angeles International Airport's control center to go haywire last week, causing flights to be delayed and canceled. (Air Force)
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The Air Force has confirmed that a U-2 spy plane did not cause the computers at the Los Angeles International Airport control center to crash last week, causing flights to be delayed, cancelled and diverted.

The Blaze first reported on Monday that an Air Force spokeswoman had said the plane did not cause the control center’s computers to fail.

Air Force spokesman Maj. Mary Danner-Jones told Military Times on Tuesday that the U-2 did not emit any electronic signals that scrambled the control center’s computers.

NBC News first reported that the U-2 was flying through airspace monitored by the control center about 2 p.m. Wednesday when things went awry. The plane was flying at 60,000 feet, but the control center’s computers tried to keep it from colliding with aircraft flying at much lower altitudes.

The computer system became overloaded and crashed, causing the FAA to stop accepting flights into Los Angeles’ airspace, NBC reported. In total, 50 flights were canceled, 428 were delayed and 27 flights had to divert elsewhere. There were delays out of other airports as well, NBC reported.

Air Combat Command confirmed that a U-2 from Beale Air Force Base, California, was flying a “routine training mission” through the Los Angeles air control when the incident occurred.

“The U-2 was flying the altitude and heading of a flight plan that had been filed with the Federal Aviation Administration in accordance with normal procedures,” the command said in a statement. “That is all the info we have available, please contact the FAA for anything further.”

In a statement, the FAA said technicians have “resolved the specific issue that triggered the problem,” but the agency did not say what the problem was.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown declined to comment about whether the U-2 was connected to the computer problems at the control center.

“We are standing with our statement,” Brown told Military Times. “We are not going into the details about the cause.”

When asked if a controller might have accidentally entered the wrong altitude for the U-2 into the computers, Brown responded, “I’m not going to get into dissecting what happened, but that’s not correct.”

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