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GPS Malfunction Grounded Hundreds of Aircraft in the US – And Nobody Noticed?

GPS Malfunction Grounded Hundreds of Aircraft in the US – And Nobody Noticed?
Joe Cortez

Flyers were affected by a national GPS outage over the weekend of June 9, 2019, but it seemed to go unreported. The grounding affected aircraft with a certain ADS-B and GPS receivers, leading to the cancellation of over 400 flights across the country.

Confirmed ticketholders aboard 400 flights were inconvenienced over the weekend of June 9, 2019 – but it seemed to fail to make headlines. Forbes reports the outages were limited to certain Bombardier CRJ aircraft outfitted with Rockwell Collins navigation equipment.

A Federal Aviation Administration bulletin issued earlier on Saturday, June 9 warned of “anomalies” among aircraft outfitted with Rockwell Collins GPS and ADS-B/GPS units. The offending units were returning error messages, including those reading “ADS-B Fail,” “TCAS Fail,” or “Transponder Fail.” As a result, the FAA suspended “pre-coordination” with those aircraft, resulting in their ultimate cancellation.

In total, CNBC reports over 400 flights weren’t allowed to fly, including 80 Delta Air Lines regional flights. American Airlines and United Airlines were also affected by the malfunction order, but to what extent is unknown. The issue also extended to Europe, but there’s no indication as to how many flights were canceled due to the malfunction.

According to an FAA statement to Inside GNSS, the issue was isolated to Bombardier CRJ jets with the equipment installed. The administrative body is working “to determine the cause of the problem,” but it is suspected a software update may have been to blame for the mass cancellations.

Data from FlightAware suggests the issue may be resolved. As of press time, the flight-tracking website reports only 194 flights are canceled in the United States, including 80 from American and 17 from Southwest, with both partially related to the 737 MAX ground order. Delta and United reported only three cancellations for the day.


[Featured Image: Shutterstock]

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