If WorldCom Was Still Around, I’d Suspect A Manager Was Playing In The Patch Panels Again.

FAA grounds all US flight departures as result of system failure
he FAA on Wednesday morning delays the departure of all domestic flights until 9 a.m. as a result of a system failure.

The computer problem was first reported at about 6 a.m. ET.

“The FAA is working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System, the agency tweeted. “We are performing final validation checks and reloading the system now. Operations across the National Airspace System are affected. We will provide frequent updates as we make progress.”

Back in the ’90s, I worked for WorldCom in a POP. I came back from lunch one day to find my manager working in the T3 patch panels.

He looked pretty damned flustered. He had some coax patch cords in his hands — one end plugged into some jacks — and a phone glued to one ear. He kept trying to plug the other end of cords into other jacks. Alarms were blaring; I glanced at the mux and saw that a couple of T3s were down (thhis was back when a T3 was a pretty big deal).

The manager spotted me. “Carl, I think you should take over!”

“Take over what?”

“I’m grooming a T3, but it isn’t working. You fix it.”

I assumed my most sincere face and said, “Oh, no; it’s a really bad idea to switch personnel in the middle of the job.” And I stood there and watched…

As the manager suddenly dropped the phone to the floor, and ran out of my POP.

I strolled down the aisle and picked up the phone. “Hello?”

Some guy on the other end replied. “Welge?”

“Nah. This is Carl, the POP tech.”

“Where’s Welge?”

“Beats me. He just ran out of the office in a panic.

“Shit! We have an FAA T3 down. It’s been down for forty-five minutes while Welge screwed around. CAn you help?”

“Possibly. Give me a second.” And looked the each end of the patch cords, and simply swapped the in and out at one end. Welge had spent 45 minutes trying to patch in to in and out to out. Alarms silenced. “That should do it.”

“Oh, thank god!”

If I recall correctly, WorldCom got fined a few million bucks for that little bit of unauthorized — and thoroughly incompetent — maintenance on their inter-regional data line in the middle of the day.

And I’ve got several more stories about that incompetent fuckhead Martin Welge.


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2A advocate, writer, firearms policy & law analyst, general observer of pre-apocalyptic American life.

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