Home / National News / More Flights Affected as FAA Tries to Rebuild Damaged Aircraft Facility


(CHICAGO) — More flights have been cancelled in Chicago Monday after thousands were grounded over the weekend, creating chaos across the country because of an alleged act of an employee, sabotaging a large air traffic control center.

Brian Howard, 36, was charged Friday with destruction of aircraft facilities, a felony.

On Friday morning, Howard allegedly entered the Federal Aviation Administration’s Chicago En Route Center in Aurora, Illinois, with a rolling suitcase and posted an apparent suicide note before destroying the electronic gear that he worked on for eight years in the basement of the building. 

Radar, communications, flight plan computers and 23 of the 29 computer racks were reportedly damaged with cut wires, fire, water or blood of his own bleeding from the suicide attempt.

The damage was so bad inside the communications center that the FAA has decided to build a completely new center in a room right next door. Some of the equipment began arriving Sunday night.

It will take days for technicians from across the country to put the center back together, and will not be fully operational for another two weeks, the FAA says.

Friday’s incident has prompted the FAA decision to conduct a “30-day review of contingency plans and security protocols for its major facilities.”

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says he understands the public’s frustration with all the flight delays and cancellations.

“The air transportation system is vital to our economy and people rely on it to function 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I want to make sure that we have the most robust contingency plans possible,” he said.

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