Days after pausing several domestic departures, the FAA is now revealing why it has to do so after a full investigation.
And it’s apparently because some of its contractors had deleted NOTAM system files accidentally, causing delays or cancellations of several flights in the US. These include some of the military flights, too, that forced the pilots to call around directly to get their necessary operational details.
Accidentally Deleting System Files
Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded severe domestic flights due to an internal error pertaining to NOTAM. The Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system is important information for pilots that has warnings for potential hazards along a flight’s route, flight restrictions, and runway closures.
And the failure of this data to be processed in time led to several flights being paused or even canceled on January 11th. Well, some have been pushed back the day before after the outage occurred at around 3:28 PM ET.
Cleared Update No. 2 for all stakeholders: ⁰⁰The FAA is still working to fully restore the Notice to Air Missions system following an outage. ⁰⁰While some functions are beginning to come back on line, National Airspace System operations remain limited.
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) January 11, 2023
This led all the affected flight pilots – including some US military ones that relied on the NOTAM data – to call around manually and ask for the necessary information. Well, after a few days of investigation, FAA said it was because of an internal mistake from its contractors!
More detailed, some of the FAA contractors have accidentally deleted the NOTAM system files that are crucial for flight functioning – leading to operational delays and cancellations. Well, it also reiterated that “so far found no evidence of a cyberattack or malicious intent.”
While it’s unknown how deleting some information files caused the whole system to go down, the Transportation Department has long been arguing against the NOTAM system as a “failing vintage hardware” and needed adequate funds for its upgrades.