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U-2 Spy-Plane-Inspired Radar Crash Was Sparked By Insufficient RAM

Tyler Durden's picture


Having admitted that last week's air traffic control system crash was due to the fact that a U-2, Cold War-era, spy plane still in use by the U.S. military sparked a "glitch" in radar systems and grounded all west coast planes for over 45 minutes, Reuters reports that an inside account suggests this was due to a common design problem in the U.S. air traffic control system  - a lack of memory in the computer! What is perhaps more worrisome, in theory, the same vulnerability could have been used by an attacker in a deliberate shut-down, the experts said, and "shows a very basic limitation of the system," and could be used as a new "attack surface."

As Reuters reports, a common design problem in the U.S. air traffic control system made it possible for a U-2 spy plane to spark a computer glitch that recently grounded or delayed hundreds of Los Angeles area flights, according to an inside account and security experts.

As aircraft flew through the region, the $2.4 billion system made by Lockheed Martin Corp, cycled off and on trying to fix the error, triggered by a lack of altitude information in the U-2's flight plan, according to the sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the incident.




FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said that process "used a large amount of available memory and interrupted the computer's other flight-processing functions".


The FAA later set the system to require altitudes for every flight plan and added memory to the system, which should prevent such problems in the future, Brown said.

The U-2 had a complicated flight plan which blew the system...

The ERAM system failed because it limits how much data each plane can send it, according to the sources. Most planes have simple flight plans, so they do not exceed that limit.


But a U-2 operating at high altitude that day had a complex flight plan that put it close to the system's limit, the sources said.


The plan showed the plane going in and out of the Los Angeles control area multiple times, not a simple point-to-point route like most flights, they said.


The flight plan did not contain an altitude for the flight, one of the sources said. While a controller entered the usual altitude for a U-2 plane - about 60,000 feet - the system began to consider all altitudes between ground level and infinity.


The conflict generated error messages and caused the system to begin cycling through restarts.


"The system is only designed to take so much data per airplane," one of the sources said. "It keeps failing itself because it's exceeded the limit of what it can do."

But it opens up a host of concerns...

"If it's now understood that there are flight plans that cause the automated system to fail, then the flight plan is an 'attack surface,'" said Dan Kaminsky, co-founder of the White Ops security firm and an expert in attacks based on over-filling areas of computer memory.


"It's certainly possible that there are other forms of flight plans that could cause similar or even worse effects," Kaminsky said. "This is part of the downside of automation."


Moss said many hackers have been studying aspects of a new $40 billion air traffic control system, known as NextGen, which encompasses ERAM, including its reliance on Global Positioning System data that could be faked.

In conclusion - as one former military pilot noted...

"It would be hard to replicate by a hostile government, but it shows a very basic limitation of the system."


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Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:06 | 4751485 RacerX
RacerX's picture

Nice. Next thing they'll tell us it's written in ADA.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:09 | 4751494 cossack55
cossack55's picture

How do they still get parts for the Commodore and Atari systems?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:09 | 4751499 fonestar
fonestar's picture

Through fonestar at

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:14 | 4751518 indygo55
indygo55's picture

Wasn't that the period that the Russian bombers were flying just outside the 200 mile limit?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:19 | 4751530 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

"The system is only designed to take so much data per airplane," one of the sources said. "It keeps failing itself because it's exceeded the limit of what it can do."

Perhaps they could call up the NSA for some extra RAM. They don't seem to have any limits on the amount of data they can collect. I suspect they have plenty to spare...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:22 | 4751544 eclectic syncretist
eclectic syncretist's picture

They're still running the old 386's with big floppy drives.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:25 | 4751560 12ToothAssassin
12ToothAssassin's picture

This is an obvious cover story. The real issue was more likely a test run of precision directed energy weapons designed to take out radar systems. The U2 is the test bed and a great distraction component.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:28 | 4751576 Cap Matifou
Cap Matifou's picture

Possibly the Ruskies fried the system from the distance.

Air Force TIMES sez: U-2 did not scramble LAX computers


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:43 | 4751626 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture


Perhaps a controller entered in 6,000 ft vs. 60,000 ft in a classic "not-so-fat-finger" error?

The computer would then be going nuts trying to reroute flights to avoid imaginary collisions while the U2 overflew at Mach 3.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:45 | 4751654 Joe Davola
Joe Davola's picture

I'm sure non-friendlies would never attempt to exploit a buffer overflow vunerability.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:17 | 4751692 Manthong
Manthong's picture


What’s the big deal?

It’s only the air traffic control system.

The money, time and effort to add RAM to that optional system is better expended on getting education, health care and EBT to illegal aliens.

Oh. what's that you say,.. it's just more .gov BS?

No matter what the truth or excuse is,  .gov is proven again to be a bunch of idiots.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:24 | 4751847 knukles
knukles's picture

The DoJ has officially retired the U-2 more times than Osama has been killed.
So, the "WTF?" factor remains "stratospheric"

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:46 | 4751956 Beam Me Up Scotty
Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

U-2's and SR-71's are two different airplanes. SR-71's can go Mach 3 and are retired. U-2's do not fly at Mach 3. They aren't supersonic.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 19:23 | 4752702 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

No one mentioned SR-71's till you showed up, but yeah, the U2 ain't gonna haul @ss at Mach 3.  BTW, the top end of the SR-71 is still classified.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 23:16 | 4753395 Andre
Andre's picture


Look at the picture. That's a U2/TR1, operating in high subsonic region. Wings like that rip off too close to Mach 1.

The SR71 is what you are thinking of. Long out of service now, and totally different beast.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:41 | 4751633 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

"640k of memory is more than anyone will ever need".

-bill gates

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:35 | 4752173 Cap Matifou
Cap Matifou's picture

If you wanna be on the loop, listen to the "Father of Internet", LOL.

(This was once truly said about the vaccine crazed mofo by a clueless presstitute. Microsoft slept over the Internet gold rush completely, W95 came out back then without any internet connectivity.)

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 19:52 | 4752800 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Then they used Internet Explorer to access the internet, which is a lot like sending your young children to play Doctor with pedophiles!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:50 | 4751679 lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

If the U2 did not, then it would have been the Russky Bears flying offshore just outside US airspace.

It is not advertised in the USGMSM, but the Russians have developed very sophisticated ECM systems.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:21 | 4751827 Save_America1st
Save_America1st's picture

that's what I've been seeing on the 'ol interwebz as well.  I mean, really?  A fucking U2?  I'm calling B.S. on that story, because why in the hell should we ever believe anything that comes out of the administration or their propaganda media anyway?  Screw them.

The so-called "alternative" media (which are really the real media these days) all say it was the Russians trying out some jamming systems and that it wasn't a U2.

I'll go with their explanations every freakin' time cuz 99% of the time anymore they're the ones telling the truth. 

Man, I bet the sociopaths in D.C. and the NWO are just dying to shut down the 'ol interwebz.  It's gotta really piss them off that it's been used for good, freedom, and finding out all the information they had been trying to keep from us for so many decades. 

I bet Alex Jones at really drives the sociopaths crazier than they already are when he starts blasting away at them and telling all their secrets on air.

I love it

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 17:00 | 4752278 taoJones
taoJones's picture

"On the lighter side of things... seems that the crew responsible for the demolition of the old Bailey, wanted to give the old girl a grand, albeit improvised, sendoff.  Although the demolition had been planned for some time, the music and the fireworks were, according to the crew chief... definitely not on the schedule... we'll be right back..." - BTN

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 23:20 | 4753420 Andre
Andre's picture

True, the Russians have not been sleeping vis-a-vis  ECM, but civilian systems have always been a turkey shoot for that. Most flight plans of that type are ELINT or SIGINT - poke the frog and see what happens.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:35 | 4751601 The Phu
The Phu's picture

This makes me curious why U-2's are flying over LA in the first place...  I hope it wasn't anything more than a training flight...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:50 | 4751659 ZerOhead
ZerOhead's picture

Kieth Alexander assures us it was a simple training flight.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 18:33 | 4752550 Aussie V
Aussie V's picture

Knowing LAX maybe the Baggage Handlers stole the ram from the computers on night shift? "Just take 64meg at a time and no one will notice"

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 17:49 | 4752409 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

DENIAL of SERVICE...bytchez!

Kaminsky said. "This is part of the downside of automation."

Not entirely correct. This is the downside of highly centralized systems, especially those that are woefully out of date....a common malady of any centralized system. FAA - just another Gummint program by the central planners. As is your Social Security number. The real attack surface for automation being, when the power goes out (another centrally planned government program), nobody will remember which switch to flip, button to push, valve to open, or liquid to the designated point in time. All the people who do know these things, will be dead in 25 years.

In other news: MH340 Reappears after radar services restored.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:33 | 4751592 Bankster Kibble
Bankster Kibble's picture

Perhaps it is an old Y2K problem?  They used a "windowing" fix and forgot to update after 2010?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:14 | 4751794 The_Dude
The_Dude's picture

I know the guy that gets called in to work on the flight systems at SFO.  

His expertise...he was a TV repairmen from the 70s~90s and the only one around that still has the skills/understanding to work on these antique systems.....

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:04 | 4752833 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Ya mean this Guy's dad?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:18 | 4751818 lasvegaspersona
lasvegaspersona's picture

Y2K finally hits!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:10 | 4751777 onthesquare
onthesquare's picture

Lets see what the new Iranian Clone Drone will do in such a case.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:39 | 4751617 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

They buy them at  We'll all be pawnstars soon.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:55 | 4751703 fonestar
fonestar's picture

What will Chum Lee offer me for 3 BTC?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:06 | 4752838 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Sorry, but I'm hanging onto my old C-64 (for games not available on other platforms!)

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:31 | 4751881 TheABaum
TheABaum's picture

They trade surplus TRS-80 (aka Trash 80) parts.  

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 00:59 | 4753671 Nobody Important
Nobody Important's picture

I don't know. But i've got 2 or 3 old Commodores laying around I'll sell them real cheap (by government standards) :)

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:09 | 4751497 twh99
twh99's picture

Probably Pascal.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:19 | 4751536 Headbanger
Headbanger's picture

I think LISP

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:26 | 4751564 CPL
CPL's picture

Java actually; the platform-less platform language that comes with free memory leaks that are 'standard' across all Oracle/Sun products.  At no extra cost of course. 

Then add in how butchered the entire IT industry is, combined with the software on demand model.  Sprinkle in junior programmers without senior programmer guidance to the SDLC and instead use a business/marketing manager to drive the end solution.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:45 | 4751647 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

CPL, pretty soon the pilots will get thier guidance from the "Cloud" they are flying through.

SAAS, in this case a recepie for diSAASter....

But it's coming, you can bet on it.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:06 | 4751756 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Nancy from Bombay will be speaking at you in shortly

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:50 | 4752233 chinaboy
chinaboy's picture

You are just one idot who hates Java. There is no report linking Java to to the Radar computer. And you cannot produce any evidence of the link.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:41 | 4751630 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Algol, Cobol, Lisp, Pascal?  Maybe even Hypo?

And those darn 8086 processors!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:24 | 4751846 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Youse guys aren't even close.

Its all written in Jovial and CMS2.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:26 | 4751862 knukles
knukles's picture

That's funny

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:08 | 4752844 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

FORTRAN-IV on paper-tape FTW!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:12 | 4751511 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

Having worked at the FAA, in Air Traffic, I can tell you this article is completely untrue.

The local yoko customizes the air space. In other words, just a routine software bug, affecting one site and not anyone else.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:22 | 4751546 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Seriously, really thin story, lack of RAM? In 2014?

Fuck, you could run an airport on networked smart fones today if you were smart enough.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:27 | 4751570 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

Just a point of clarity, but calculations "to infinity" like this one constitutes a runaway process, which means no amount of ram could accomodate. It sounds like bullshit from a different angle. The whole thing amounts to input error, which is an outlandish claim. If you didn't account for this you'd be an idiot programmer. And the error probably would have surfaced before.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:57 | 4751712 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture


If you didn't account for this you'd be an idiot programmer.

It's not like there's a shortage...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:25 | 4751854 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

I think they import them by the butload, or is that boatload, on H1-B visas.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:37 | 4751917 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

That's not going to curry favor ya know.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:12 | 4752866 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

There's at least one website devoted to Idjut Programmers:

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:31 | 4751583 Matt
Matt's picture

How complex is flight plan data? 

Is is storing a plot point every second, or just position, angle, speed at each turn?

Do all military flights need a flight plan?

What happens if a plane goes off its flight plan?

The article says the ATC put in an altitude of 60,000 feet and the system began calculating for every possible altitude between ground and infinity ... is the system hard-coded with a limit of 40 or 45,000 feet, and any number above that is invalid? Does the system have input validation? What if someone puts in a negative number, or adds an extra zero?

If the computer is running off calculating an infinite number of possibilities, adding more RAM is not going to solve the problem.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:53 | 4751693 lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

USAF flies anywhere the fucking want to.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:57 | 4751717 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

With a tanker and drone entourage to boot.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:53 | 4751695 Steaming_Wookie_Doo
Steaming_Wookie_Doo's picture

Commercial jets (AFAIK) can't go above 45,000 ft anyway, which would leave the U2 (@60K ft) nearly 3 miles away from any potential target. So I'm not sure what the hell it was calculating. Now only 6,000 feet would really stir things up. However, there were errors reported at 4 airports in greater SoCal as well as San Jose airport (Bay area) some 400 miles north. There's definitely something wrong with the picture they're trying to paint.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:32 | 4752145 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

The FAA has multple centers nationwide (ARTCC) to track between airports. My guess is the Center had the problem, located in Oakland. But that's a complete guess, and it's unfair to say it's certain.


I forget to mention that a Center handles multiple airports, so your flight is always under radar coverage. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 22:18 | 4753099 Seeing Red
Seeing Red's picture

Perhaps the input error was a zero (or no entry) for min alititude, and 60,0000 feet for max altitude.  Combined with the number of other flights and the complexity of the U2's flight plan, the system was pushed further than in any of its test cases (in this scenario it would have been heavily taxed to calculate every possible interaction).  What I suspect is being covered up is the vulnerability of the system to a data-entry error ... after all, the public wants to know this is "solved" and could never happen again ....

If I'm right (big IF here), then RAM *may* be only part of the story, and the CPU bandwidth might have been exceeded.  The RAM upgrade could be a quick (partial) fix, but as others have pointed out, the program should have checked the input data for sanity (trouble is, what if the U2 took off or landed locally -- then a zero min altitude would have been correct and ... hmmm ... uh-oh ....).

Houston, I think we have a problem [as there could be a fundamental issue here that is NOT easily fixed properly/reliably] ....

p.s.  Chime-ins from those with technical expertise in this area would be highly appreciated.

p.p.s.  Perhaps we'll see the FAA propose modernizing this equipment (at least at major airports) in a few months ... for "general" safety mind you (gosh those old systems work just *fine* but ... parts are hard to get ... HAHAHA).

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 01:24 | 4753704 Matt
Matt's picture

If the amount of calculations is "infinite" then the amount of RAM that must be added is infinite. Same with processing power. There should never be infinite loops or recursion.


Tue, 05/13/2014 - 02:26 | 4753751 Seeing Red
Seeing Red's picture

Agreed, but I'm not sure I believe that part (although it's possible with a s/w bug, but why didn't it show up earlier?  Huh?  Huh?).

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:21 | 4752113 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

How complex is flight plan data? 



The air space itself is defined. Think 3D, height, width, depth with boundary to the next radar coverage area, all customized locally as all are different. There can be some very wierd shapes. All incoming flight data needs to fit inside that definition, or it should be somebody else's radar coverage and responsibility. Sometimes, higher altitude stuff is off-limits, reserved for military.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:33 | 4751591 fonestar
fonestar's picture

smart fones.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:36 | 4751605 Stoploss
Stoploss's picture

Hey, it's XP with 128MB of RAM and a 56K hook up.

It don't get much better than that..

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:59 | 4751722 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Windows ME. You're talking about Windows ME.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:29 | 4751867 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

The best OS on the market.

You could play Redneck Rampage to your hearts content.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:40 | 4751933 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

What?!? No "Deer Hunting with Jesus" level?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:17 | 4752882 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Is that anything like "Custer's Revenge?"

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 17:41 | 4752060 rainingFrogs
rainingFrogs's picture

seriously?? ZH looks for conspiracies in whether climate change causes fish to fart bubbles or not, and then "Tyler" posts an article accepting what has to be a total BS story about lack of RAM crashing a $2.8B air traffic control system?  in 2014, when you can buy 32gb RAM sticks?

c'mon, let's get creative here. 

was the air force trying out a new stealth system, or perhaps testing a new system to zap out enemy radar?  or maybe Iran is getting even for Stuxnet.  or maybe the Russian's infected the system with nanobots. 

but ... lack of RAM??

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:43 | 4751641 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

A modern desktop PC with a $500 video card can do way more in real time than what these fuckers claim.  Gimme a break.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 17:09 | 4752308 ILLILLILLI
Tue, 05/13/2014 - 01:22 | 4753693 Seeing Red
Seeing Red's picture

But the software is not written for that.  Here's a new phrase for you:  "legacy system".

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:09 | 4752851 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

In other werdz, more lying BS from the Govt!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:52 | 4751691 replaceme
replaceme's picture

I remember seeing an RFP for that system (or predecessor?) in the 90s, and it was definitely during the ADA push.  The error handling was supposed to be its strength, don't remember the bit about looping reboots, but I was studying it over lunch, may have glossed over that.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:00 | 4751728 HellFish
HellFish's picture

Keep using foreign software developers and save that 15%.  What could go wrong.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 18:41 | 4752570 Againstthelie
Againstthelie's picture

1st world countries do not stay 1st world countries with a transformation to a 3rd world population.

Politics follows biology.

Latest scientific proove: South Africa.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:08 | 4751492 Theta_Burn
Theta_Burn's picture

Got that pogues?

Complicate the reasons why enough closed

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:10 | 4751496 Lore
Lore's picture

Lockheed Martin, huh?  Sue 'em and get a new system from China.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:15 | 4751524 fauxhammer
fauxhammer's picture

Faus frag!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:18 | 4751532 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Wrong spot...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:24 | 4751562 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Crose enough...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:11 | 4751506 Quinvarius
Quinvarius's picture

More like crappy programming.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:15 | 4751525 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

Agree. Looks like they didn't validate the input. All they needed was a failure when no altitude is entered.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:36 | 4751603 Matt
Matt's picture

Or 60,000 feet is not considered within valid range for some reason, like if the system was designed for civilian air traffic and had a maximum altitude it could handle.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:40 | 4751623 i_call_you_my_base
i_call_you_my_base's picture

Right, that seems possible.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:54 | 4751696 replaceme
replaceme's picture

But it took that "bad data" and then went to infinity?  That's some serious crazy.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:56 | 4751711 bombdog
bombdog's picture

Wouldn't that be an amazing thing if you could build software with every line of code covered with both expected and unexpected conditions run against the code base with every commit? Let's call it "unit testing" ... no but of course a small time company like Lockheed Martin couldn't afford that!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:18 | 4751535 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

"Hell of a memory leak ya got there pal."

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 20:20 | 4752890 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Wha...? :>D

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:13 | 4751515 pods
pods's picture

So the system was running at 99% of capacity?  Brilliant.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:28 | 4751573 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Yeah Pods, interesting that the serf's mission critical airt traffic control runs on frigging 486's and a U2's flight path ALONE can supposedly blow the whole system?

Even ATC personnel are famously stressed, lots of drugs and all, harrowing tales of near misses...

pretty crazy....serf's are statistics...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:15 | 4751517 Payne
Payne's picture

Reminds me of the Electronic Warfare systems that can create ghost images on radar.  Me thinks they were flying with the wrong switch in the on postition.

Imagine that the U2 created 100 aircraft out of no where.  That would create an issue for the computer, the operator etc.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:29 | 4751578 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Very interesting and feasible hypothesis there....

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:17 | 4751526 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

By hostile government, I think we can safely assume the pilot was talking about our own.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:22 | 4751539 _ConanTheLibert...
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Remember what Billy said, 640 kB is more than enough!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:38 | 4751614 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

Damnit, this was the snarky post I was gonna make!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:21 | 4751542 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

Smooth move Ex-Lax.

Complete numb-nutz programming at work.

And as usual, by the low bidder, no doubt.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 17:27 | 4752361 Lore
Lore's picture

You're not gonna get a "low bid" from inside the MIC.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:22 | 4751548 conspicio
conspicio's picture

Hmmm, good to see the FAA agrees with me. Or am I now part of the cabal?


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:48 | 4751652 NotApplicable
NotApplicable's picture

As a software guy, there's nothing shocking about these bugs at all. It all comes back to the idea that you can't prove a negative, so infinity wins every time.

Applications are never nearly as black-box as one might think they should be.

Especially when the phrase "And the bid goes to..." is part of the equation.

I'm currently watching a multi-million dollar ERP deployment, that is an absolute POS. It's likely less integrated than the package they've had for twenty years. But hey, the kids wanted silverlight instead of a green screen, so the kids get pretty things that don't work.

A brand new, data free time keeping/scheduling system was eating a gigabyte an hour simply idling. Quick fix? Double the ram, and cut the problem in half!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:55 | 4751704 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Two questions the low bidder always asks themselves.

1. What did I miss?

2. Where do I get change order forms?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:42 | 4752199 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

A brand new, data free time keeping/scheduling system was eating a gigabyte an hour simply idling. Quick fix? Double the ram, and cut the problem in half!

It seems proper testing is always the first thing cut as projects expand. Developers these days, really need more to learn to properly test. I call it the dumbing down of the industry. All most do is write a module and hand it off. They have no idea and don't care how to make it work. They met spec and that's it. The industry is way overspecialized - a specialist gets the business requirements, another turns them into technical specifications, another writes a module spec, another codes it, maybe someone tests matter some manager calls it completed and working give me my bonus....Don't even get me started......

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 17:05 | 4752292 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

We're all beta testers now...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:25 | 4751549 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture


There's no shortage of the feral Federal government lies and them RAMMING us up the ass!

I'm also quite sure that the space shuttle has made fast high level passes over Commiefornia airspace.  Why didn't that trigger this problem?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:52 | 4752226 JLee2027
JLee2027's picture

They patched the airspace for some reason in the past few months, and it all worked ok until the U2 showed up at high altitude. Probably. 

Stuff happens. One day a nameless controller had some kind of breakdown and told all incoming aircraft to hold and not to land. The airport called the center about 45 minutes later asking where all the flights were, as traffic had stopped. They were all on hold and circling, per instructions. Thank GOD someone caught it before they all ran out of fuel. Needless to say, procedures were changed after that. Now you sit on a runway, waiting for clearance all the way through before take off. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:25 | 4751561 Sticky Wicket
Sticky Wicket's picture

Didn't the DoD specifically say that the U2 plane didn't cause the crash? That's what started the "THE RUSSIANS DID IT!" hype both here and other sites. Now all of a sudden we know the exact reason it crashed. How convenient.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:28 | 4751575 Stinko da Munk
Stinko da Munk's picture

You think that's bad, truth is air traffic control was using Internet Explorer.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:31 | 4751585 semperfi
semperfi's picture

so let's see: the sources of all this info are Reuters, US govt, US military, FAA - all pathological liars

I heard a farily reliable source say that Russian bombers were flying near the west coast during that time.

That same source also said a few Russian fighters "jammed" the US Navy's targeting radar systems in the black sea a few days ago.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:32 | 4751589 riot-police
riot-police's picture

I think they were running MS Windows and playing solitare. --Hence the system crash.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:38 | 4751612 DIgnified
DIgnified's picture

Nice cover story. Id bet Russia did it. 


Wow, never though I'd say that in seriousness. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:39 | 4751622 Notsobadwlad
Notsobadwlad's picture

I suppose this is a sgn of the times. The NSA has enough memory and processing power to store every single communication globally in real time and one outdated spy plane crashes the commercial air traffic control system. It would be funny if not so tragic.

Those corrupoted parasites who "believe" they are superior and in control must be  having a laugh.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:42 | 4751637 QQQBall
QQQBall's picture

Time for a $500 billion overhall of air traffic systems.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:52 | 4752240 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Shovel ready jobs.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:42 | 4751638 pragmatic hobo
pragmatic hobo's picture

i guess they are running dos? any modern operating system, including windoz, would have used virtual memory when physical ram ran out ...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:46 | 4751660 lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

haha, they are still using Intel 8088s!

with 1 meg of RAM!

I bet they still have tubes in the power supplies, hahahha.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:52 | 4751686 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Well, that certainly improves their EMP resistance.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:57 | 4751713 lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

Yep, 50# transformer and diodes about 2" in diameter!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:00 | 4751729 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

And think of the heating savings in winter!

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:50 | 4751681 bombdog
bombdog's picture

You know that Lockheed Martin and the "defense" sector must be complete retards if they are unable to model a flight path for an airplane and do some of the most basic tests on the product before releasing it. Obviously living too long on the pork fat that comes from big governent. Never mind, just print up a few billion more and give the project to Team Obamacare!

And what about the apocryphal story of Russian fighter planes shutting down US Navy radar in the Black Sea? Seems a little more credible now don't it?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 14:56 | 4751709 Bear
Bear's picture

Why do we keep advertising our vulnerabilities. Is it that we live in a world where the rulers keep secrets and can lie with impunity but the foundations of our security are broadcast on Facebook and Twitter in a continual steam of 'come as get us here, here and here'

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:08 | 4751765 bombdog
bombdog's picture

It's the rulers that stop us fixing our vulnerabilities. Developers would find exploits and share the information with the community and work on a fix. Now they get bounties from the NSA to hand over exploits and shut up about it. If it's true that a plane at 60,000 feet can crash air traffic control then the system was built by amateurs and there simply is no fix for that. Not a fix that would be very easy anyway - the fix is getting lobbyists out of government and harpooning bloated defense contractors and other leeches feeding at the government teet. The money junkies get paid whatever products they produce with no attention to quality and no concern for consequences because there are none.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:26 | 4751858 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The Russkies advertised it.  The media is now covering it up best they can.  Don't worry, the extra RAM will 'solve' the problem.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:03 | 4751741 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

(10) - 8-inch floppy drives operating on a Trash-80 processor.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:03 | 4751742 NYPoke
NYPoke's picture

Took 'em over a decade ( or two ) to get off of vacuum tubes.  Not a shocker.


Should have kept the tubes & some good 'ole solid state technology.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:08 | 4751767 Fox-Scully
Fox-Scully's picture

Let a Canadian rewrite the programs.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:36 | 4751906 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

Would that be the same group that wrote the interface for Obamacare?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:10 | 4751770 news printer
news printer's picture

640K ought to be enough for anybody

Bill Gates
Mon, 05/12/2014 - 22:47 | 4753331 Polymarkos
Polymarkos's picture

Billy Gates is a commie fag.

Wed, 05/14/2014 - 03:23 | 4758031 kurt
kurt's picture

He is also an international jetsetter and spokesmodel for sterilizing, poisoning, and killing, with live vaccines. "OH MY DADDY WAS THE INVENTOR OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD" 

I wish Bill's dad had planned better, one more abortion would have prevented Windows 7.

To the Malthusians I always say, "You First!"

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:15 | 4751799 auntiesocial
auntiesocial's picture

the pilot knew he was in trouble when he was forced to reboot and the Windows 95 screen came up...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:20 | 4751829 Polymarkos
Polymarkos's picture

I like the "Do you want to stop running this script?" dialog box comes up. If they can program the thing to ask me, why can't they program it to stop or correct the error caused by the script?


Bill Gates is a communist and REALLY SUX at software.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:19 | 4751817 Joe A
Joe A's picture

Unless they are using outdated systems based on 386 processors, I am not buying it. With prices for RAM so low they can have enough memory for their systems. This was some sort of test.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:19 | 4751819 Polymarkos
Polymarkos's picture

Are we still believing this was merely a computer glitch?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:34 | 4751896 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

My money is on an extraterrestrial abduction.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 22:47 | 4753329 Polymarkos
Polymarkos's picture

My money is on advanced EW platform fielded by the Russians in their new Cold War pokings and proddings strategy.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:49 | 4751972 kurt
kurt's picture

Hey! Gary Powers,

This story is dead, follow ups are dead. Maybe you're looking at week old statistics. This psy-op needs no further massaging. Please move on to some other section. The group working on demonizing Russia needs help: they're putting out a constant stream of laughable drek. They rachet between the "Russian Bear KGB Oligarch" and other stupidly transparent themes. As a taxpayer I'm not getting my money's worth. Don't tell me you're outsourcing propaganda now? Is some Indian guy typing with one hand and reading Samuel's History of America with the other hand? 

Highschool grade stuff here. Crap really. As my grandfather used to say after his stroke, "Stink Awful!"

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:59 | 4752020 GIABO
GIABO's picture

All I gotta say is make sure Marvin Bush or the Israeli's aren't running security... Remember what happened last time.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:16 | 4752102 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

And people wonder why I don't fly...

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:23 | 4752135 Duc888
Duc888's picture



LOL, we can have Mil bases in over 130 countries and we can't afford a few sticks of RAM.



Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:33 | 4752168 PanGlossius
PanGlossius's picture

Shit. Where

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:40 | 4752194 NoWayJose
NoWayJose's picture

It opens up a 'host of concerns' -- not the least of which is 'WHY IS THE U-2 SPY PLANE FLYING OVER LOS ANGELES AND IS DUCKING IN AND OUT OF LOS ANGELES AIR SPACE????'

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 19:05 | 4752640 I Write Code
I Write Code's picture

It's Los Angeles dude, including where these things were built and maintained, adjacent to Edwards and other military desert bases, we got everything in Los Angeles air space from chop suey to guys in lawn chairs and helium balloons, Marine One, stealth helicopters watching over Algore, blimps, dirigibles, and a black cloud that hovers over Donald Sterling.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:45 | 4752210 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

So,  in light of this revelation,  please explain how all the abuse of, spying on, and hatred of US citizens by government is justified?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 16:53 | 4752246 Canucklehead
Canucklehead's picture

Are they sure it was a U-2?  This Russian plane looks a lot like a U-2.

Tue, 05/13/2014 - 11:19 | 4754938 ednraleigh
ednraleigh's picture

This was nothing more than the US Government's first EMP weapon's test on civilians.

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