The Highest Point in Florida

Local maxima edition

Edge cases edition

Here is a contemporary report about what happened when F-22s collided with the international date line.


2007: “…At the international date line, whoops, all systems dumped and when I say all systems, I mean all systems, their navigation, part of their communications, their fuel systems. They [F-22s] were — they could have been in real trouble."

Presumably the Chinese are well aware of this kind of issue. Why try to shoot a plane (or a missile?) down when it could be disabled by suitable interference with the electronics? Good thing there are no Chinese components buried in the mass of electronics on US military equipment, eh?


Well, I have faith that red, white, and blue U.S. defence contractor cubicle farm programmers can mess things like this up even without embedded Chinese silicon. If you go back and look at the design documents and committee minutes for the Ada programming language in which most of the F-22’s 1.7 million lines of code are written, one of its chief goals was from keeping the guys you couldn’t fire from messing up the whole project. It is now generally concluded that Ada failed in this noble effort.

One wonders if anybody ever asked just why an air superiority fighter should know anything about the international date line. The U.S. military runs on UTC (which they quaintly call “Zulu time”, sounding suspiciously colonialist to me), and time zones only create confusion (and keep changing all the time).

I am reminded of the Canadian bush pilot motto: “What you don’t have can’t break.”