IoT
Software // Enterprise Applications
News
12/29/2004
01:33 PM
50%
50%

Comair Downed By Computer Counting Limit

The computer failure that grounded an airline's entire fleet over the Christmas weekend and stranded thousands of travelers was due to creaky software that couldn't count higher than 32,768.

The computer failure that grounded an airline's entire fleet over the Christmas weekend and stranded thousands of travelers was due to creaky software that couldn't count higher than 32,768, according to a report in the Cincinnati Post.

Delta subsidiary Comair halted all operations Saturday Dec. 25 and grounded 1,100 flights after a computer crash of its flight crew scheduling software, said the Post. Comair, a regional airlines owned by Delta, is headquartered in Cincinnati.

According to the Post, the software -- which tracks all details of crew scheduling, including how long they have flown (an FAA regulation restricts airtime), and logs every change -- has a 16-bit counter that limits the number of changes to 32,768 in any given month.

"This probably seemed like plenty to the designers, but when the storms hit last week, they caused many, many crew reassignments, and the value was exceeded," a computer consultant from Los Angeles, Tom Carter, was quoted by the Post.

Minus the computer, Comair was forced to either schedule manually or toss in the towel. It tossed in the towel.

"You can't operate an airline without a crew scheduling system," Comair spokesperson Nick Miller told the Post.

On Wednesday, Comair said that it had returned to a normal operating schedule, but the airline faces an investigation by the federal Department of Transportation, which launched a probe into holiday flight problems on Monday.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of July 17, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.