Fire at FAA facility closes Chicago airspace

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member


This is probably the biggest shutdown of US airspace since 9/11. Not just closing Chicago arrivals and departures, but re-routing all traffic away from the area.


https://www.facebook.com/flightrada...1607872211978/775795879126504/?type=1&theater

Amazing screenshot from www.flightradar24.comshowing airspace over Chicago completely empty above 10,000 feet due to an earlier fire at Aurora Air Traffic Control. Over 300 flights have been canceled to/from O'Hare and Midway airport and it is still not known when traffic can resume.
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...-called-to-radar-facility-20140926-story.html

All flights in and out of O’Hare and Midway Airports were halted this morning after a fire broke out at a radar facility in Aurora and a man with self-inflicted wounds was found in the basement, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said no planes in the United States destined to cross the Midwest would be allowed to depart until at least 10 a.m.

As of 8:30 a.m., 435 flights had been canceled at O'Hare and 395 delayed, according to FlightStats, which collects data from airports and airlines. At Midway, nearly 100 flights have been canceled and nearly 40 delayed.
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WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Yes, this story is also featured on the FlightAware homepage...where there are usually about six trending "Squawks" shown. (Other stories can be found, by search).
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
The shutdown in May didn't cause as much delay/rerouting?

I believe it was a different situation:

http://www.syracuse.com/news/index....acility_bathroom_shuts_down_ohare_midway.html


About 700 flights were canceled Tuesday at Chicago's two airports after an electrical problem sent smoke into the control room of a regional radar facility, forcing officials to temporarily halt all air traffic at one of the nation's busiest aviation crossroads.

The Federal Aviation Administration said all personnel were evacuated from the radar facility in suburban Elgin around 11:30 a.m. They were allowed to return about three hours later.
Content from External Source
Incident in May affected the TRACON. An accidental (and I presume relatively smaller) instance of electrical smoke (and the obvious acrid smell).

However, this latest seems to have occurred at the "Center" (or, 'ARTCC') facility, which encompasses a much larger region of airspace responsibility.

Appears to be a deliberate act of sabotage/suicide. (Too early to know for certain).
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I was wondering why "they" weren't spraying me today.

I'm very interested on the effect this has on contrails, and if it will be noticeable on the MODIS satellite images. Not that I want people inconvenience, but it will be interesting if it continues until the satellites fly over around noon local time.
 

Jason

Senior Member
During a press conference the police chief said the authorities are staking out his house before entering. Why are they staking out his home? Also one of the reporters began to mention something about his comments on FB and if it's related to terrorism and his question, while they answered with the standard protocol that it's still being investigated, they ignored the terrorism question completely. Does anyone think these unrelated stories of a beheading in OK and this story have anything to do with ISIS recruitment perhaps.
 
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Jason

Senior Member
I'm very interested on the effect this has on contrails, and if it will be noticeable on the MODIS satellite images. Not that I want people inconvenience, but it will be interesting if it continues until the satellites fly over around noon local time.
Have you been able to decipher the satellite imagery to see the effect on contrails?
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
I'm very interested on the effect this has on contrails, and if it will be noticeable on the MODIS satellite images. Not that I want people inconvenience, but it will be interesting if it continues until the satellites fly over around noon local time.

The Terra image taken at 16:30 UTC shows clear skies above the Great Lakes and no contrails in the area there planes were rerouted across the lake Michigan. There are a few E-W contrails to the south of the lake at the latitude of Indianapolis, where some cirrus clouds are also present.
The Aqua image taken at 18:10 UTC shows these cirrus clouds propagated north toward the lake taking some aged contrails with them. No contrails for the rerouted planes in the north.

The satellite images suggest that the Chicago area would have seen very few or no contrails today anyway.
 
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Chew

Senior Member.
During a press conference the police chief said the authorities are staking out his house before entering. Why are they staking out his home?

Mentally unbalanced people often tend to booby trap their own homes.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member


I wanted to separate that GIF, and then continue with a link showing the boundaries of the "Chicago Center" ARTCC.

http://skyvector.com/?ll=43.271206114680936,-88.04498290896113&chart=304&zoom=4

If you wish to open the link, then navigate within it in the same way as one would with 'Google Maps' (IOW, scroll with the center mouse wheel to Zoom In/Out, click and hold to Slew, etc) you will see the boundaries that define the different ARTCC sectors. And, how well it comports with the blank area, in the GIF above.

For instance, just north of the O'Hare Airport, cutting across Lake Michigan, you see a light blue rather jagged line...labelled "Chicago" on one side, and "Minneapolis" on the other. This is one boundary example.

Of course, there is also this handy image, obtained from the InterWebs:

 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
The shutdown must have created quite a mess, and taken a while to straigten out.
Indeed.

More on it:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...-to-radar-facility-20140926-story.html#page=1
http://www.npr.org/2014/10/04/353621973/faa-chief-no-quick-fix-to-prevent-another-fire-like-chicago

Thing is, other nearby ATC facilities chipped in to help "carry the load", as it were. Hard to find citations online for this, but I do know that it is a community, the air traffic control body of people. They have a 'bond', and will often go above and beyond, when called upon.

As a pilot, I know this full well....I have (prior to 9/11) been happy to have an ATC professional join us in the cockpit, on the jump-seat. It used to be a "standard procedure" for ATC staff to regularly ride an airline jump-seat, once per year....after 9/11, this changed (sadly).
 
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