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Flights Delayed After Fire at Chicago-Area FAA Facility

Fire at a Federal Aviation Administration in suburban Chicago is causing delays this morning at O'Hare International and Midway International airports ( 기타...

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A map showing the diversion around Chicago...
capstar362 -2
KORD is not the busiest airport in the world.

KATL is, by far. current rankings put KORD at Rank 7 with KATL still in the #1 slot.


Last Years Statistics:

This years Stats as counting:
sorry but thats comparing Apples to Oranges.

your article solely reflects aircraft statistics. number of flights.

look at what my links say...... NUMBER OF PASSENGERS.... confirmed here:

Aircraft Operations wise. KORD is now king, and actually only for a year now, KATL had that king chair also.

since 1998 KATL is king of body count and since 2005 till this year, king of Aircraft ops.

but by the number of bodies moving..... KATL is King for 10+ years. and KORD is down by 2 slots from #5 2 years ago, to #7.

passengers wise, KORD runs a 46.7 Million count. KATL runs a 95 Million... want to argue that?

KATL just built a new concourse, "F" so lets see.... we now have T,A,B,C,D,E and now F Concourses. a total number of gates of 199 which recently KORD had the king chair for number of gates...... we just pushed KORD out of that chair too.

Broken down to:
T = 15
A = 29
B = 32
C = 40
D = 43
E = 28
F = 12

planning for a 6th runway is in workings. the problem is, KATL already has a triple arrival and double departure capability. that will soon be a triple arrival and departure. 6 parallel runways? 3 Arr. and 3 Dep? yeah... dont worry about the Ops count for KORD soon.

and yes, quite obvious, i live in Atlanta. either way.... apples to oranges :)
Local news is reporting he was upset over being transferred to HAWAII! I was outside for 15 minutes just now, zero air traffic currently.
Well, he got his wish.. He will now not be transferring to Hawaii!.... I am sure they have someone else that he will be transferred to that is much more local.
saw no posts earlier, created post, now found this one. OOps. OK. See also CNN,
Read it on the BBC 20 minutes after it occurred . They were only using two routes on the Ohare8 departure, one was via Fort Wayne, the other Moline. No one was cleared over 9000 feet in Chicago air space. Controllers had no computers.
One can listen to the operations in the archive at Choose 1230Z time frame to hear how they were getting out of ORD.
Cool. I had listened to a bunch of TRACON and tower archives from around the time of the incident but hadn't thought to listen to Clearance Delivery. Very interesting, thanks.
View live airport delay/cancellation statistics on FlightAware:
kev wu 1

[This poster has been suspended.]

check the misery scale for K-ORD, as of noon CDT, there were 58 cancelled flights. many more delays, and more inbound traffic delayed. 100's of flights were impacted this am, as people were sitting on runways to depart, and others , went back to the destination airport, deplaned, and waited.
So now I am seeing that this fire was deliberately set, but not terrorism related. Why would you do this?! (Although, after asking that, why would anyone in their right mind call in a bomb threat simply because they were running late for a flight?)
I suppose since aircraft didn't collide and kill people, it isn't considered a terrorist act.
Chris B -1
A man was found in the building with self inflicted gunshot wounds.

This matter gets stranger by the moment.
Read the article that you linked to. The wounds are not gunshot.
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Fire at Chicago Air Traffic Control - All flights snarl traffic

An attempt at suicide caused a fire in the basement of a building in Aurora, IL, a suburb of Chicaco, where the Air Traffic for Chicago O'Hare, and Midway Airports is handled. All flights from 6 am Central Time,and until at least 10:00 AM CT, until repairs can be completed. For More Info see the FAA website at
It's over , delays etc.
There is very little traffic actually moving and hundreds of cancellations.
My office is less than one mile west of O'hare, the skies remain very quiet here. I saw one plane takeoff around 10:15am and have seen nothing else, other that what appears on flighttracker, which I am not seeing actually in the sky.
I was in Dolton, Illinois Friday afternoon, which is in the flightpath for MDW. I saw one small propellor plane and no jets of any kind. Normally, that area is bustling with air traffic.
The LOA (Letters Of Agreement) business is all smoke and mirrors to keep the higher ups happy. In reality, the controllers don't have radar maps, radar coverage, or frequency coverage to take over the airspace they are assigned. At ZLA, it was actually SCT (Southern California TRACON) that had the fire danger and ZLA took over the airspace. Once again, the controllers don't have maps to cover the low altitude fixes around the major airports. Plus, the controllers don't train to take over the airspace. Been there done that at ZLA.
two separate incidents.. the one with SCT was when ZLA took over the airspace, correct. but there was another incident where ZLA had to evacuate out in Palmdale, and ZAB and ZOA handled some of ZLAs airspace.

I know that they do not train for that, but the contingency was there and utilized at that time.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Quote: "KLAX is the worst by far"

Care to back that up with some statistics? Because, especially in summers (T-storm season) and winters (Snow) KORD gets hit hard. In southern CA? No snow (obviously) and very few T-Storm events.
Depending on the Day of Travel, and the Volume of Passenger Traffic, the appearance of being 'Worse' or 'Better', MAY be an opinion type thing, For Statistices, for Today 2014-Sept-26, according to the 'Misery Index' at, Airport K-ORD gets the cake for Misery scale (see this graphic) , then compare against K-LAX.
Here's what I don't get.

Fire causes ZAU to be evacuated, flights get diverted/cancelled, airspace basically shut down.

Roughly 7 years ago, wildfires cause ZLA to be evacuated. LOAs were in place between ZLA, ZAB, and ZOA that had ZOA and ZAB extend their airspace laterally (ZOA south, ZAB west) to cover most (not all) of the airspace affected. SCT remained operating as normal, if not extended their airspace vertically to cover.

Were there any LOAs between ZAU, ZKC, ZID, and/or ZMP to do the same? and if so, why were they not implemented? C90 would still be inundated with flights, but that's normal for that facility.

I really wonder what LOAs ZAU has in place with bordering facilities.
Contingency information is sensitive unclassified data and is not to be discussed outside of official channels and need-to-know individuals.
Yet, the following came from NATCA:


CONTACT: Doug Church, 301-346-8245

WASHINGTON – Following a fire last Friday that closed the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZAU) in Aurora, Ill., hundreds of air traffic controllers at more than a dozen key facilities are continuing to safely move as much air traffic flow into, out of and around the Chicago area as possible.

This work will continue into the coming week as the Federal Aviation Administration develops a plan to repair critical communications infrastructure that was destroyed in the fire.

“This is one of the most challenging situations that air traffic controllers and other FAA employees have faced since 9/11,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. “The damage to this critical facility is unlike anything we have seen before. Since the first moment when radar scopes went dark at Chicago Center Friday morning, controllers have ensured the highest level of safety at all times. We know this has been a tremendous disruption to the travel plans of many people. We are working diligently to re-establish as close to normal operations as possible to minimize the inconvenience to travelers while keeping safety above everything else.”

There are four en route centers that border the ZAU airspace; Cleveland Center (ZOB), Indianapolis Center (ZID), Kansas City Center (ZKC), and Minneapolis Center (ZMP). Each of these facilities has helped assume the ZAU airspace responsibilities, and worked very well with Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) facilities in Chicago, Milwaukee, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and elsewhere (see full list in final paragraph), as well as with many control towers, including both O’Hare and Midway Airports in Chicago.

“We have seen a plan of action established by the adjacent centers and other key facilities that is evolving and improving by the hour, and providing safe service that is increasing in efficiency,” NATCA Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert said. “Air traffic controllers are trained to expect the unexpected and make a new plan work safely. The level of resourcefulness and ingenuity that has been demonstrated over the past three days is truly astounding. Controllers and other FAA safety professionals will continue to implement outside-the-box thinking to get the system functioning well while Chicago Center repairs are made.”

As of Sunday afternoon, arrival traffic into O'Hare and Midway is being fed to Chicago TRACON (C90) directly from ZMP and ZKC. Arrivals into Chicago airports from ZOB and ZID are being descended down first into South Bend TRACON, then into C90. Departure traffic from O'Hare and Midway continue to be worked directly from C90 to ZKC, ZID, and ZOB, while traffic to the north continues to depart the tower en route through Milwaukee TRACON.

Updates below:

ORD: The arrival rate has been increased to 72 per hour. Departure restrictions are still in place in all directions. Manual handoffs with other control facilities are still in place in the absence of a fully functioning automated flight plan system. We are seeing departure delays of up to 15 minutes. That could increase to 30 by later today.

C90: An already short-staffed facility is utilizing ZAU controllers to help with increased coordination to different centers. That is ensuring that the operation is as efficient as possible. “We continue to work hard, and I am so proud of the controllers’ professionalism and work ethic,” NATCA Facility Representative James Hall said. “We are C90 - we will always figure out a way to move the airplanes. I anticipate increasing our efficiencies with continued out-of-the-box thinking. That is, of course, with continued ZAU controller support, and staffing to hold.”

ZAU: This is the first time since 1963 that ZAU air traffic controllers have not worked the airspace. “The controllers at Chicago Center are currently providing as much assistance to other facilities as possible,” NATCA Facility Representative Toby Hauck said. "I have attempted to put into words what we have been through and it is impossible to describe. I thank all those facilities and controllers who have stepped up.”

ZID: “So far, the arrival process seems to be going well,” NATCA Facility Representative Jim Larson said. “We have had to make manual handoffs to the approach controls on all of the arrivals, but our controllers have done a good job of dealing with the increased traffic and complexity.” ZID's radar and radio coverage has been exceptional, and is allowing them to radar identify the aircraft while they are still within Chicago TRACON airspace, but until the problem with the automated flight plan data is solved, it remains a tedious operation. Extra staffing has been called in to assist with the new procedures and airspace in both areas. This will most likely continue for the duration of the ZAU outage.

ZKC: ZKC has set up a new sector that is working a chunk of Chicago Center's (ZAU) airspace to allow for O'Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW) arrivals and departures to be worked. They have a plan in place in which they own 16,000 feet and above from Joliet (JOT), which is just in Chicago TRACON's (C90) airspace, west to Des Moines (DSM) and south to Centralia, Ill. (ENL). They have radar and frequency coverage, so ZKC is working directly with C90 to accomplish handoffs and transfer of flight plans.
Additional personnel is helping the areas adjacent to ZAU¹s boundary with the extra position being opened and transferring of flight plan information. “We also have a dedicated phone brought in that is dialed into C90, acting as a direct line for the ease of passing flight plans to and from C90,” NATCA Facility Representative Aaron Merrick said. “Once we got our plan implemented Friday, things began to move smoother than they were after the initial phase of the situation.”

ZMP: They are doing a very similar operation as ZKC. They have created a sector that works what is called the "Bullz" arrival and two departure routes - one west and one north - as well as the tower operations en route from Milwaukee and Green Bay. “We have extra staffing in the facility to help with the situation,” NATCA Facility Representative Mike Thompson said. “There are many great people doing many great things with very little to work with.”

ZOB: As of noon on Sunday, ZOB was receiving about 85 percent of ORD departure flight plan information. However, everything is still manual coordination whether they have the flight plan info or not.
ZOB's airspace plan is also very similar to ZKC. The facility has basically extended their western boundary 60 miles further to the West, almost to C90’s eastern boundary. With the extra airspace they’ve attained from ZAU, they were able to create two new departure sectors. These sectors handle all east, northeast and southeastern departures.
“The affected areas of the facility handling the additional sectors are all requiring extra staffing to handle the extra workload and complexity,” NATCA Facility Representative Drew MacQueen said. “We expect this to continue as work to increase traffic levels out of ZAU continues to mount.”

TRACONS IN ZAU AIRSPACE: Controllers working radar positions at the TRACONS in Cedar Rapids, Champaign, Des Moines, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Madison, Milwaukee, Moline, Muskegon, Peoria, Rockford, South Bend, Springfield, Waterloo, and also Grissom Air Reserve Base in Kokomo, Ind., have played a crucial role in the effort to get traffic moving as a temporary solution while ZAU is down. In the case of traffic flowing into and out of Chicago airports, they are providing a conduit between the adjacent centers and Chicago TRACON. “These employees are working a staggering amount of traffic, using new procedures and methods being altered almost constantly, and ensuring safety in very difficult and pressure-filled situations,” Gilbert said. “It’s a great team effort in progress.”

So those contingencies and OPs are in place.
If that's the case, then I shouldn't be able to FOIA request the LOAs and SOPs of various TRACONS and ARTCCs.. yet I can. Need-to-know, indeed…
LOAs and SOPs fall in a different category than facility contingency plans. LOAs and SOPs aren't inherently sensitive or For Official Use Only.
emilpudge -6
Today was CAVU in the midwest, why aren't the comm'l planes being allowed to fly VFR until they can get in a controlled space...mebe with a 20 mile separation and GPS? Boo FAA for not thinking faster on all this.
Quote: "Fly VFR"?? <sigh>

For the benefit of the non-pilots in the audience, firstly ALL above FL 180 (or, 18,000 feet) must be on an IFR flight plan.

Secondly, it is within the airlines' flight operations procedures and regulations (as monitored by the FAA) to operate ALL revenue flights on an IFR flight plan.
You could actually do VFR above 18000 in uncontrolled airspace offshore... IFR above FL180 only applies to the contiguous states...
I'm just stating the obvious, you troll that thumbed it down!!! Get a life!!!
sparkie624 -2
This was crazy... They call it a non-terrorist activity, but a contractor sets the place on fire and then purposely sets himself on fire.. I mean really... This guy should pay all the airlines for the losses... This guy will probably get off on mental charges, but he needs 1 year in prison for every flight that was delayed, canceled, and or diverted.
Give him a McCloud, and put him on a fire crew out west digging lines.
rmbkchi -2
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Fire at FAA Chicago Center

Fire at FAA Chicago Center this morning has canceled 850 flights


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