Utah lawmakers, NATCA resist ERAM test

From the Associated Press:

Utah’s two U.S. senators are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to hold off testing a new computer system at a Salt Lake City air traffic control center that guides planes across portions of eight states.

Republican Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch wrote FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt on June 11, asking him to delay a test of the new system at the Salt Lake Air Route Traffic Control Center. [..] “Safety concerns demand that ERAM (the computer system) not be implemented until it meets and exceeds the standards of reliability and stability of the system it replaces,” the senators wrote.

FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the agency has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday with the union representing air traffic controllers to discuss the test. She said agency officials still have confidence the test can take place as planned.

The test is scheduled from midnight to 4 a.m. on June 18, said Doug Pincock, an air traffic controller [and NATCA rep — ed.] in Salt Lake City. During that period the main computer system that the control center has used for nearly two decades will be switched off and the new system, known as En route Automation Modernization, will be switched on, Pincock said.

Further information: NATCA’s press release; FAA ERAM fact sheet; Text of letter to Randy Babbitt from Sens. Bennett and Hatch.

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