Computer problem in VA delays flights in Northeast

April 12, 2008 6:28:53 PM PDT
Flights from airports across the Northeast were delayed Saturday by a computer glitch at an air traffic control center in Virginia that handles high-altitude flights. The main computer at the Washington "en route" center shut down at about 4:45 p.m. for about 10 minutes, said Jim Peters, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

It was not clear how many flights were delayed, and nobody was ever in danger, Peters said.

A backup radar system handled traffic already airborne, but while the computer was down, airports from Virginia to New England were ordered to hold traffic on the ground.

When the system came back, airborne flights were handled before flights on the ground were allowed to take off.

The breakdown is being investigated.