TIME Transportation

FAA Confirms Spy Plane Caused LAX Chaos

Cold War Spy Plane
A U.S. U2 reconnaissance plane taking off at the U.S. airbase in Osan, south of Seoul, South Korea. AP

Federal aviation authorities say the security situation at Los Angeles International Airport last week that scrambled computers and caused flight cancelations was actually just a Cold War-era U2 aircraft passing overhead at high altitude

The FAA confirmed Monday that a U2 spy plane flying over Southern California last week scrambled computers and caused overall confusion at Los Angeles International Airport, resulting in flight cancellations and delays.

The Cold War-era plane confused aging computers when it flew over LAX on April 30, the FAA said. Even though the plane was flying almost twice as high as commercial airliners, the FAA said in a statement that “the computer system interpreted the flight as a more typical low-altitude operation and began processing it for a route below 10,000 feet.”

Commercial planes and the jet were miles apart with no risk of collision. But according to the FAA, “the extensive number of routings that would have been required to de-conflict the aircraft with lower-altitude flights used a large amount of available memory and interrupted the computer’s other flight-processing functions.”

The problem was resolved within an hour, although LAX reported that 50 flights were canceled and 455 experienced delays. Precautions are being made so that facilities using older computer systems will have increased available memory to prevent similar situations in the future. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta also said Friday that all 20 centers in the country will be running on a new computer system by next March.

[NBC News]

TIME Aviation

Computer Glitch Grounds Flights at LAX

The ground stop lasted for about an hour on Wednesday afternoon and affected several other airports in Southern California, Nevada and Utah. Flight delays are still being reported

Updated 7 p.m. ET

Due to a computer malfunction the Federal Aviation Authority issued a ground stop for all departing flights at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that lasted for about an hour. Flights began departing again at around 3:20 p.m. PT.

Shortly after 2 p.m. local time LAX announced on Twitter that flights were allowed to land but not to depart at LAX. Some incoming flights were reportedly being diverted to other unaffected airports, the Los Angeles Times reports. Seveal other airports were also affected, according to CBS, including those in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

It remains unclear how many flights altogether were affected by the glitch.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME Transportation

The Electric Toothbrush Bomb Scare at LAX

Baggage handlers at Los Angeles’ LAX airport sounded the alarm about an object vibrating in a bag that turned out to be a toothbrush. The police cleared the bag and no evacuations were ordered and no delays were reported

Officials were given a fright Wednesday when baggage handlers at Los Angeles’ LAX airport raised alarm about an object vibrating in a bag.

Los Angeles International Airport police were on the scene at terminal two by about 11:25 a.m., the Los Angeles Times reports. Units from the Los Angeles police bomb squad and fire department cleared the package by 12:06 p.m. The mysterious buzzing object turned out to be … an electronic toothbrush.

No evacuations were ordered and officials reported no delays as a result of the bomb scare.

LAX baggage handlers were accused last month of running what authorities believe was likely the biggest baggage theft operation in the airport’s history.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME NFL

The 49ers’ Aldon Smith Is Arrested at LAX After Talking About a Bomb

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith (99) reacts after sacking Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell during the first half of their NFL football game San Francisco
San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith reacts after sacking Chicago Bears quarterback Jason Campbell during an NFL football game in San Francisco on Nov. 19, 2012 Beck Diefenbach—Reuters

The star linebacker's checkered history with law enforcement continued over the weekend after he was arrested for suggesting during a random screening with security officials that he was carrying a bomb before heading to the gate area

San Francisco 49ers’ star linebacker Aldon Smith’s checkered history with law enforcement off the field continued on Sunday, after the 24-year-old Pro Bowler was arrested after suggesting to security officials at the Los Angeles International Airport that he was carrying a bomb.

After being randomly selected for secondary screening, Smith reportedly became “belligerent and uncooperative with the process and with the TSA agent, making a comment indicating that he was in possession of a bomb before proceeding toward the gate area,” Sergeant Karla Ortiz said in a statement.

Smith was later arrested at his gate by airport police officers and taken into custody and booked for felony false report of a bomb threat. He was later released on Sunday evening on $20,000 bail, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“We are disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a press release. “As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment.”

Sunday’s incident was the latest in a growing list of ugly incidents involving Smith since he joined the league three years ago. The linebacker sat out five games in the 2013 season in order to receive treatment for substance abuse after being arrested and charged in September on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and possessing marijuana.

In October, Smith was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, which stemmed from an incident that erupted during a party at his home, where he reportedly discharged a weapon in the air and was stabbed during a fight.

TIME Crime

LAX Baggage Handlers Pilfered From Luggage for Months, Police Say

LAX Luggage Thefts
A passenger enters the terminal Thursday March 27, 2014 at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. Police say six people were arrested Wednesday March 26, 2014, after officers served more than two dozen search warrants after a months-long investigation into baggage theft at Los Angeles International Airport. Nick Ut—AP

Baggage handlers pilfered electronics and jewelry among other possessions for months, authorities say, in what is perhaps the largest baggage theft operation in the history of the airport. Many of the hot items, whose monetary value is yet unknown, ended up on Craigslist

Authorities said Thursday that they suspect at least 14 baggage handlers at Los Angeles International Airport of stealing thousands of dollars of items from luggage over the course of months.

In what is probably the largest baggage theft operation in the history of the airport, handlers stole electronics and jewelry among, other possessions, police said. The thieves allegedly sold many of the items that they stole from secure areas of the airport on Craigslist, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police do not yet know the total monetary value of everything stolen.

Police have arrested six LAX workers and detained another eight workers after obtaining 25 search warrants for the homes and lockers of the suspects. “We have multiple companies that deal with baggage at the airport for airlines. But one company had more reported thefts in their terminals than the others and so we began investigating their baggage workers,” Los Angeles International Airports Police Chief Pat Gannon said, according to the Times. “At any airport there are always theft of baggage, but we knew this was prevalent at Bradley and Terminal 4.”

Despite the number of suspects, authorities believed that there wasn’t a conspiracy. “I think there was a lot collusion but not an organized ring,” Gannon said. “The investigators believe there was a group who took advantage of the opportunities.”

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME celebrities

Kanye West Pleads No Contest in Assault Case

Kanye West attends the Givenchy during Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2014-2015 on March 2, 2014 in Paris.
Kanye West attends the Givenchy during Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2014-2015 on March 2, 2014 in Paris. Dominique Charriau—Getty Images

After pleading no contest to charges, the rapper was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service and 24 private therapy sessions for anger management after he assaulted a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport last July

Rapper Kanye West was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service and serve 24 months of probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor battery on Monday.

West was charged with assault after getting into a rumble with a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport last July. The photographer, Daniel Ramos, claims West punched him and tried to take his camera. West has also pleaded not guilty to criminal battery and attempted grand theft. He did not appear in court on Monday, but entered his plea through an attorney, according to the Associated Press.

Photographs from the incident show West grabbing the photographer ‘s camera; during the pretrial hearing Monday in Los Angeles the photographer said he believed the rapper should “be sent to jail.” According to WPGC, a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles, the judge also ordered West to spend one day in county jail. He is also required to attend 24 private therapy sessions for anger management and make an undisclosed monetary restitution. The amount will be disclosed on June 17.

[AP]

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