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Radar Woes Slow Maryland Airport

March 24, 2000

LINTHICUM, Md. (AP) _ A computer malfunction delayed flights at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and left air traffic controllers relying on computer printouts and handwritten notes Friday.

The computer system that usually provides the names, altitudes and speeds of aircraft malfunctioned from about 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said.

Controllers were still able to track planes on their radar screens, but details about the aircraft were incomplete, said Arlene Salac, an FAA spokeswoman. The controllers compensated by using flight data strips about each aircraft and marking any changes, such as altitude or speed, by hand, Salac said.

To give the controllers more time for tracking, the normal three-mile separation between planes was stretched to 15 to 20 miles, the FAA said.

Twenty-three departing flights and some incoming flights were delayed an average of 25 minutes, Salac said.

The FAA is investigating the cause.


On the Net: Federal Aviation Administration site: http://www.faa.gov

Baltimore-Washington International Airport: http://www.bwiairport.com

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