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NATCA: Outages at SoCal TRACON, Miami Center

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association has issued a press reelase reporting two ATC outages in recent days. The first occurred on Sunday at the Southern California TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control), which apparently experienced a loss of radar and radio functionality. Details per NATCA:

  • At approximately 3:17 P.M. PDT on Sunday frequencies for the Burbank area, part of Southern California TRACON’s jurisdiction, went out and didn’t return until 4:15 P.M.
  • When the outage occurred the backup lines didn’t kick in, leaving the controllers without radar or radio.
  • Due to the large scale of the outage a ground stop was ordered for Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center and all Centers that immediately surround LA Center (Seattle Center, Albuquerque Center and Denver Center), thereby instructing any aircraft required to travel through said airspace to divert or hold if not already in the air.
  • To cope with the crippling outage the controllers had to switch one radar frequency designated for Los Angeles approach to Burbank, working all of Burbank’s airspace on one frequency where there would normally be upwards of five or more.  With the LA approach radar being farther away and not as accurate a view of Burbank’s airspace operations were done with less accuracy.
  • At 3:56 P.M. the normal spacing between aircraft was increased ten times the normal amount to 30 miles for all traffic landing at Burbank or Van Nuys, eventually being decreased to 20 miles in trail before the frequency came back on.

The second incident happened at Miami Center on Monday, where controllers lost radar and frequency coverage for 30 minutes between the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.

  • The Center also lost radar feeds from four radar sites in the Bahamas (Nassau, Grand Turk and George Town) and Guantanamo Cuba.  At the same time, radio frequencies for those same areas were lost as well.
  • All flights into this area over the Bahamas were rerouted by facilities such as New York Center and San Juan Center, in addition to many foreign facilities such as Santa Domingo Center, Havana Center and Port Au Prince Center.
  • All aircraft headed towards the outage area and not already in the air were held on the ground.
  • Controllers were working approximately 45 aircraft at the time of the incident.  [..]

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