FAA Plans a Computer Upgrade, When?

From the 'What were they thinking?' department: the FAA's Electronic Special Traffic Management Program (eSTMP) had announced it was updating its computers, beginning tomorrow and running through Monday (July 23-26). That's the four days immediately before EAA AirVenture, the largest gathering of aircraft in the world. The eSTMP system coordinates IFR slot reservations at venues that usually don't experience large volumes of traffic, but where a special event (such as EAA AirVenture?) provokes significant increases in demand for ATC services. At first, the eSTMP system was to have shut down entirely during the upgrade, but after conversations with EAA officials, the new message on the eSTMP website now announces the service will remain available. The computer upgrade will go on as scheduled. In defense of eSTMP planners, the vast majority of Oshkosh-bound traffic is of the VFR persuasion, but EAA management pointed out that in the days before the show — the time when the upgrade is scheduled — incoming traffic includes a large volume of show and display aircraft operated by vendors (and journalists) who need to get there, and are much more likely to be flying IFR.