December 29, 1996 in Nation/World

Computer Errors Ground Jets In East

Compiled From Wire Services

A pair of computer problems in a two-hour span at a regional air traffic control center grounded jets along the East Coast on Saturday, delaying some flights by nearly an hour.

The center was without radar for about an hour after technicians failed to restart the flight data computers after routine maintenance, said Bob Ropelewski, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

Pilots were ordered to keep 20 miles between their planes and others, Ropelewski said.

“There weren’t any dangerous situations,” Ropelewski said.

An hour later, however, keyboards on the air traffic computers froze up, forcing the center to turn away Florida-bound flights that fly through its airspace, Ropelewski said.

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