FAA Ground Stop Order

AM909

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May have just been a tech problem at LA center. Listening to LiveATC for KLAX tower, the first mention is at ~22:31:15Z and they were allowing departures again at ~22:49:00Z. It was supposed to be short-lived from what they were told to begin with. They continued to line up departures on the ground with engines running.
 

GlobalNorth

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Since this "stop order" came at the time of a DPRK ballistic missile launch eastward, before landing in the Sea of Japan, it would not be a stretch to assume that US Strategic Command/NORAD/FAA put out a preliminary SCATANA [Security Control of Air Traffic and Navigation Aids] order to clear the skies] for possible military missile operations. SCATANA is a 1960's order in place that gave the then USAF SAC [now Strategic Command] and NORAD the authority to order the FAA to clear the US airspace of civilian aircraft in order to facilitate bomber and missile operations during an attack.

SCATANA was implemented before on 09 November 1979, when a training tape simulating a Soviet ICBM/SLBM missile attack on the US was loaded into a NORAD computer and run without official knowledge. After the error was discovered, the SCATANA order was lifted.

While Strategic Command, NORAD, and the FAA officially deny issuing any "grounding", it is a weird coincidence that it came during a verified DPRK ballistic missile launch.
 

MUTNAV

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I was always under the impression that SCATANA would have the navaids turned off (a reasonable thing). On Sept 11 a SCATANA wasn't issued specifically (I asked) because the aircraft in the air needed the navaids to recover. So I'd like to think that a SCATANA wasn't issued for this incident, the FAA tried a ground stop to achieve a halting of air traffic, maybe a new thing that directs airborne aircraft to land, in addition to a ground stop, would be useful. We'll see if something like this happens.

Thanks
Joel
 

AM909

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I listened to a number of area tower/ground recordings and I don't think the controllers were told anything about the reason or duration, or they were each doing a good job of claiming so.

LiveATC for KNKX (MCAS Miramar) yielded some more confusion. At ~22:32Z was the first mention of the ground stop. At ~22:36Z, the controller says "it was just a false alarm; That ground delay is no longer in effect.", apparently referring to the ground stop? At ~22:38Z, "ground delay is back in effect until further notice". At ~22:48Z, "ground stop has been removed".

KSFO log yielded talk of "sterilizing the airspace". A pilot asked for a definition, which was given as "arrivals only, no departures or transit of their airspace" and "shut down the overlying TRACON and Center airspace".
 

MUTNAV

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SCATANA was designed for and issued for nuclear missile threats.
Pretty sure that bombers were the reason for the original plan, (an extension of the idea of a citywide blackout ) to make navigation harder for inbound bombers.

Missiles I'm not so sure of, admittedly the space shuttle had something like a 6 channel TACAN receiver to help with its navigation for orbit aborts and just after re-entry, but maneuvering missiles in the early days of missiles (ICBM type) would have been a stretch, unless we mean things like Regulus, Snark, or Hound-dog type missiles.
 

GlobalNorth

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The Soviets had missiles and the R-7 ICBM [operational on 09 February 1959] before we did and CONELRAD was specifically designed for the bomber threat. After the bomber threat was found to be non-existent [see NATO code name - BOUNDER], CONELRAD was terminated.

Missiles use gyroscopic and inertial navigation for guidance, not HF/DF, TACAN, GPS/GLONASS, or other signals that can be spoofed or shut down. All ICBMs and SLBMs are independent entities when launched and cannot be recalled. They can be intercepted by ABM systems, subject to fratricide at target, fizzle, or subject to internal fault/failure.

The whole plan for SCATANA was to clear US airspace for the use of ICBMs and US bombers. ICBMs are launched initially, but not all at once. Bombers can take a while to launch towards their targets, especially if they had been deployed to secondary airfields and civilian airports as pre-conflict tensions mounted. A secondary use was for ADC/TAC/ANG interception of any aircraft flying over, towards, or near the US as hostiles.
 

MUTNAV

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View attachment 114923
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Thanks for the information,

but it sounded like more than just a ground stop, having aircraft land and not transit airspace is more... unless the other info we got was incorrect (which is possible).

Thanks a lot for the update.

Thanks
Joel
 

Token

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The Soviets had missiles and the R-7 ICBM [operational on 09 February 1959] before we did and CONELRAD was specifically designed for the bomber threat. After the bomber threat was found to be non-existent [see NATO code name - BOUNDER], CONELRAD was terminated.
CONELRAD was established in 1951, it was unrelated to the Bounder bomber. CONELRAD was replaced when an automated system (EBS) took its place in 1963.

When CONELRAD was established the primary threat was the Tu-4 Bull. But before CONELRAD was abolished the Russians also had the Tu-16 Badger, the Tu-95 Bear (dropped what is still the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated, in 1961), Tu-22 Blinder, Il-28 Beagle, and Yak-28 Brewer, all in service, and all capable of carrying nuclear weapons. This bomber threat was far from non-existent, but by the 1960's was a lesser threat than the ICBMs.

It can certainly be argued that the US thought it could protect itself from mass Bomber strikes (CONAD, ADC, etc), but the threat of Bomber attacks definitely was a thing even after CONELRAD ceased operation.

T!
 
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