|FAA’s ERAM ATC computing system. Photo: FAA|
[Avionics Today 08-18-15] The FAA identified a recent software upgrade to Air Traffic Control’s (ATC) En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) system at the Leesburg, Va., high-altitude radar facility as the source automation problems that grounded and delayed flights across the region on Saturday.
A new function in the latest ERAM software upgrade provided individual controllers with the ability to set up a customized window of frequently referenced data. This information was supposed to be completely removed from the system as controllers deleted it. However, as controllers adjusted their unique settings, those changes remained in memory until the storage limit was filled. This consumed processing power needed for the successful operation of the overall system.
By temporarily suspending the use of this function, the FAA believes it has eliminated the possibility of this particular issue from occurring again. The FAA is working with its contractor, Lockheed Martin, on a permanent solution and the company is closely examining why the issue was not identified during testing.