The Morning After: The FAA grounded all US flights due to mistakenly deleted files | Engadget


The FAA paused all domestic departures in the US on the morning of January 11th because its NOTAM or Notice to Air Missions system failed. Now we know why: deleted files. Contractors working on the Federal Aviation Administration’s NOTAM system, it seems, deleted some crucial files by accident. This resulted in delays and cancellations of thousands of US flights. The issue even impacted military flights that partly relied on FAA NOTAMs: Pilots reportedly had to call around to ask for potential flight hazards.

Apparently, its contractors were synchronizing a main and a back-up database when they “unintentionally deleted files” that turned out to be necessary to keep the alert system running. The FAA reiterated it has “so far found no evidence of a cyberattack or malicious intent.” We’ve all accidentally deleted a file, sure. It’s just never grounded the flights of an entire country.

– Mat Smith

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