Air traffic controllers used handwritten notes to keep track of hundreds of planes over New England and upstate New York when a computer failed, The Boston Globe reported Friday.
The problem at the Boston Center in Nashua, N.H., began Wednesday at about 6:50 p.m., one of the busiest times of the day, and lasted for 37 minutes, the Globe said.Approximately 75 controllers at the center were following about 300 aircraft at the time.
Blips on radar screens showed controllers there were planes in the air, but their altitude, speed, routes and destinations were wiped out by the computer failure.
"It was chaos," William Johannes, local president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the newspaper. "We had no idea where some of the planes were."
Jim Peters, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said, "Safety was not compromised."
Controllers at other centers were told planes should not enter New England's airspace during the outage, causing delays along the coast.