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FAA Releases Preliminary Results From Year 2000
Air Traffic Test At Denver


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says preliminary results from a Year 2000 - or Y2K - test that took place at Denver International Airport and nearby FAA air traffic facilities on April 10-11 indicate that air traffic control systems will perform properly during the transition from Dec. 31, 1999, to Jan. 1, 2000.

During the test, air traffic systems at Denver, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Longmont, Colo., were split, with one side handling aircraft as normal. On the test side, system clocks were forwarded to New Year's Eve and rolled over to a simulated new year. Test systems did not handle traffic, so safety was not compromised. Recorded data from both systems is being analyzed for comparison purposes.

"A preliminary analysis of this data shows that the performance of the systems on both sides was virtually identical," said FAA Administrator Jane F. Garvey. "This indicates to us that air traffic systems on Jan. 1, 2000, will perform just as they did on Dec. 31, 1999."

The test involved:

Air traffic control (ATC) systems at the Denver International Airport tower, the Denver TRACON, the Colorado Springs TRACON, the Grand Junction tower, and the Longmont, Colo., en route center. Systems at each of those facilities are used throughout the country, and cover all phases of flight from takeoffs to landings. This was a test of the nation's ATC system.

Systems used in all aspects of flight, including those for processing radar, weather and flight plan data.

The plotting of the movement of one flight in particular, United Airlines Flight 2778, which landed at Denver during the test. Data on Flight 2778 from live and test systems at the Denver TRACON and the en route center at Longmont are identical.

The processing of 453 flight plans by the en route center at Longmont.

The tracking of 51 aircraft by the Denver TRACON during the duration of the test. (Note: For safety purposes, all FAA air traffic tests are conducted at night, during periods of light traffic. Light traffic volume does not impact the validity of these tests.)

A total of 108 FAA employees, 73 from Airways Facilities and 35 from Air Traffic.

The FAA has completed the renovation and testing of all systems requiring Y2K work. Those systems are now being implemented in the field. The FAA is on track to complete implementation by June 30, 1999.

The Department of Transportation is committed to meeting the Y2K date change. As of March 31, 11 of DOT's 14 agencies achieved 100 percent Y2K compliance. At this time, 89 percent of the Department's mission-critical systems are compliant. All remaining systems will be completed in a timely manner, well in advance of Jan. 1, 2000.