Spy Plane Shut Down Los Angeles Air Traffic for Hours

Los Angeles International Airport shut down for several hours last week because a spy plane on a secret mission fried the airport's air traffic control center.

According to NBC, the airport grounded all incoming and outgoing flights for several hours last Wednesday after a Soviet-era U-2 spy plane cruised through airspace monitored by L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center.

The plane, flying at around 60,000 feet, was miles above the commercial flights coming in and out of the Los Angeles-region airports. But the Traffic Control Center's computer registered it at the same altitude as other airborne flights and apparently overloaded trying to redirect the plane.

NBC says the plane was a U-2 "Dragon Lady" with a Defense Department flight plan.

A spokesperson for the nearby Edwards Air Base told NBC that, "There are no U-2 planes assigned to Edwards," but NASA's Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards, is apparently known to host U-2s.

Hundreds of flights were delayed and thousands of passengers throughout Southern California and the Southwest were affected by Wednesday's shutdown.

[image via AP]