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Thread: Total power failure at third world airport

  1. #1
    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Default Total power failure at third world airport

    America's vintage power transmission infrastructure continues to cause hijinx as it slowly decays into spiderwebs and magic, but hey, THANK GOD FOR THOSE TAX CUTS!!

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42387392

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    I know you like to think this fits your narrative, but Georgia Power is a subsidiary of a large public utility holding company which is public. Taxes have little to do with this.

    What I find more interesting is that they are claiming a fire in one part of their equipment spread to and damaged an adjacent facility which held the redundant power cables and switching equipment. So the airport had redundant power design, but still ended up going down because a central point of failure still existed.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
    So the airport had redundant power design, but still ended up going down because a central point of failure still existed.
    So the airport lacked redundant power design.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    So the airport lacked an adequately robust redundant power design.
    Fixed.

    Footnote: Totally talking out of my rear with no genuine knowledge, but I'm thinking that ATC probably had on-site standby power and that ATC was not compromised in any significant way...and I'd also speculate that our wonderful media does not care to make a headline out of that boring fact.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    Fixed.

    Footnote: Totally talking out of my rear with no genuine knowledge, but I'm thinking that ATC probably had on-site standby power and that ATC was not compromised in any significant way...and I'd also speculate that our wonderful media does not care to make a headline out of that boring fact.
    I totally agree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    So the airport lacked redundant power design.
    At some point there is always a central point of failure in redundant power designs. There has to be one place that switches between primary and alternate power sources. The key design criteria is to make sure the single point of failure is the least likely to fail of all your components. In this case, it looks like it was too close to an independent source of failure that cascaded (fire due to proximity) into the airport systems.

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    Junior Member CW2068's Avatar
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    Shouldn’t a airport that have big industrial backup generators for necessary parts of the airport if not all of the airport? As said above if they did they can’t have been compromised. The power failure had to of been internal, I heard that the air traffic control tower at the airport had power and was working as normal. Not sure if that’s true so don’t take my word for that unless anyone else can confirm it.
    ~~CW2068~~
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    Quote Originally Posted by CW2068 View Post
    Shouldn’t a airport that have big industrial backup generators for necessary parts of the airport if not all of the airport? As said above if they did they can’t have been compromised. The power failure had to of been internal, I heard that the air traffic control tower at the airport had power and was working as normal. Not sure if that’s true so don’t take my word for that unless anyone else can confirm it.
    Likely. "necessary" however, just means emergency lighting, ATC etc. Not a functioning airport.

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    ATL had both primary and secondary power entering the airport through the same tunnel. That's not redundancy. It's like carrying the primary and secondary hydraulic feeds through the same parts of the aircraft structure. In contrast, London Heathrow has two separate power feeds from opposite sides of the airport and two independent power failure sensors on either side of the property. Sadly, this didn't stop BA from putting its primary and secondary data centers in the same building resulting in their major outage in May when a UPS was tampered with in an unauthorized way. Moral of the story: True redundancy always requires duplication. Not just components, pathways too.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    I haven't invested a lot of thought in this yet, but a spokesperson commented that the actual 'thing' which burnt up was the switch that switched between primary and backup power.

    I suppose you could have two switches, but then maybe you need a third switch to switch between which switch will switch between primary and backup?

    Nice that Heathrow has two tunnels, but I would wonder if they do not meet somewhere at the same place where they are switched one direction or another...if so, "the redundancy" is a lot more like ATL than our magical dream airport with adequate backups.

    ...a lot of scientific engineering, indeed!

    Conversely, I think with the $ and headaches involved there'd be a bit more investment in local standby generators (et. al) to keep from having to shut things down from the nuts and bolts aspects (repeating that this is not a safety discussion.) Our neighborhood was 'nuked' by a ice storm around 2006, and still has too many trees mingled with power lines...whenever we have a minor outage after a windstorm, you hear automatic generators kicking on all over the neighborhood...and then hospitals are pretty good about preventing power losses.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    More Flights Canceled in Wake of Power Outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
    Things were so bad at ATL that Chik-Fil-A had to open on a Sunday.
    Such a punch line.....

    The Onion?
    Daily Mirror?
    Fox News?
    Or a world-renowned aviation magazine?

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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    Senior Member TeeVee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Such a punch line.....

    The Onion?
    Daily Mirror?
    Fox News?
    Or a world-renowned aviation magazine?
    oh boy. the backlash from the far right is gonna be epic!

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