How many times do people need to be told to check batteries periodically? This time, the problem wasn’t a dead remote for the VCR, it was the air traffic control system at Haneda Airport:
A power failure in the air traffic control tower at Haneda Airport in Tokyo forced the cancellations or delays of more than 300 flights Tuesday, affecting 60,000 passengers.
All takeoffs and landings were halted for about an hour from 11:33 a.m.
The blackout was caused by dead batteries in two emergency power sources within the transport ministry’s airport office building and the control tower.
It took down the entire system, cutting off all power to the air traffic control system, including the landing guidance system and flight data processor, which sends data on flight routes to other airports.
I happen to have spent Monday night having dinner and a drink or seven with a fellow blogger–he’s not very forthcoming about himself on his blog, so I don’t know whether he wants to be named here. We spent part of the time in a 40th-floor bar, looking out over the vast field of skyscrapers and elevated highways and other artifacts of civilization that make up central Tokyo–and we were lucky enough to have a view of trains and boats and planes coming in toward that part of the bay. (A combination Ayn Rand and Dionne Warwick moment–superb!) Watching planes coming in on the flight path for landing at Haneda really brings it home to you just how unbelievably congested it is. Haneda handles most domestic flights to and from the city. Unreal.