(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement on Monday that explained the cause behind last week's air traffic control glitch that grounded planes across the western United States.
On April 30, a computer problem took out flights at a number of western airports, including in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Phoenix. In Monday's statement, the FAA acknowledged that the computer system "experienced problems while processing a flight plan filed for a U-2 aircraft that operates at very high altitudes under visual flight rules."
The computer system, they say, incorrectly interpreted the flight as a low-flying operation and in order to eliminate conflicts within the system, numerous flights needed to be re-routed -- creating a conflict within the computer system's available memory. The conflict then "interrupted the computer's other flight-processing functions."
Still, the problem was resolved within an hour, the FAA says. In response, the agency has authorized facilities to expand the amount of available flight-processing memory they have, which they hope will prevent this problem from occurring again.
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