The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revealed in its preliminary review that the worker working on a vital computer system “unintentionally deleted files” disrupting a key computer system and prompting the entire system to break down on January 11 which affected more than 11,000 flights.
The regulator further said that the staff were trying “to correct synchronisation between the live primary database and a backup database” when some of the files got accidentally deleted. The FAA said it “has so far found no evidence of a cyber-attack or malicious intent.”
“A preliminary FAA review of last week’s outage of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system determined that contract personnel unintentionally deleted files while working to correct synchronisation between the live primary database and a backup database,” the FAA said on Thursday.
Billy Nolen, current FAA acting Administrator is to hold a virtual briefing on Friday for lawmakers and staff. Explaining the details of what went wrong that led to the first nationwide grounding of departing flights since the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Last week, the organisation claimed that a procedural mistake connected to a damaged data file was to blame for the computer outage of the Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) messaging system. Critical safety notices are made available to pilots, flight crews, and other airspace users through the NOTAM system.
The pilot communication system has been given the appropriate adjustments, according to the FAA, and measures have been taken to make it “more robust.” The system went down on January 10, but the FAA did not issue a ground stop until the next morning.
More than 120 American politicians complained to the FAA last week, calling the computer breakdown “absolutely unacceptable” and demanding an explanation of how the organisation plans to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
The staff of the Senate Commerce Committee has also requested information from the FAA about the outage, including an explanation for why airlines were given the choice to fly while the NOTAM system was down.