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Was your flight grounded this weekend? FAA blames software glitch

Was your flight grounded this weekend? FAA blames software glitch
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If you look through the comments on any of the Windows 10 stories we've posted recently, you'll see a number of people have encountered hiccups with their upgrades. That's to be expected with a major software update.

On a home machine, upgrade problems are annoying, but outside of the most extreme cases it isn't the end of the world. For a critical business machine, they're more serious. When you're talking about a computer routing hundreds of high-speed flying hunks of metal with hundreds of people on board each, an upgrade glitch is a real cause for worry.

That's precisely what happened on the East coast over the weekend, and it caused a mess for travelers. The Federal Aviation Administration was doing a software update of the En Route Automation Modernization system at a Virginia air traffic control center and things didn't go as smooth as planned.

The unstable software started causing delays. Then make sure there were no accidents, the FAA throttled back on flights in the Washington area from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

The Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport saw traffic drop 30%, 28% and 12%, respectively. This led to 492 flight delays, with wait times from one to three hours, and 476 cancelled flights.

The Eram system was fixed by 4 p.m. on Saturday, but some of the features the upgrade introduced had to be disabled. The Eram software, which has been online less than a year, is part of a larger program to modernize the FAA's entire air traffic control system.

While the final version should help improve speed and safety, there are obviously going to be some glitches along the way. There's also the worry that hackers will find the new system easier to break into.

Even without the FAA's upgrades, computer problems have recently caused 4,900 United flights to be grounded, and an iPad problem kept multiple American Airlines flights on the ground. It makes you wonder if self-flying airplanes are really that wise.

Was your flight delayed or cancelled this weekend? Let us know in the comments.

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