Chicago Flights Delayed at O'Hare, Midway by Smoke in Radar Tower

Image: Chicago Flights Delayed at O'Hare, Midway by Smoke in Radar Tower Passengers at O'Hare International Airport wait in a United Airlines ticketing line in Chicago.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 06:48 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Smoke in an air traffic radar facility grounded flights from Chicago’s two main airports, O’Hare and Midland, Tuesday afternoon and when flights did resume, it was with significant delays and some cancellations, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Tribune said the Federal Aviation Administration couldn’t give an estimated time when normal operations would begin after the issue at its Elgin radar center, the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control, called TRACON.

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The smoke apparently came from a problem with a ventilation motor at the Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control, or TRACON, in Elgin.

All FAA workers were evacuated, the Tribune said. The facility’s operations shifted to the FAA’s Chicago Center in Aurora.

FlightStats, which tracks flights, delays, and airport operations across the country, had both Midway and O’Hare rated “excessive” on its delay index.

As many as 703 flights were affected Tuesday afternoon at O’Hare, FlightStats said.

The Tribune reported that about 112 flights at Midway were affected.

Elgin Fire Capt. Anthony Bailek told The Associated Press that around noon they received a call about smoke in the Elgin FAA facility.

Chicago O’Hare is a major hub for aviation and is the second busiest airport in the United States.

Predictably, such disruption at a large airport caused numerous travelers to be inconvenienced.

And at least one person took the time to remind everyone to watch their manners.

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