What caused power outage at Belgocontrol?

An investigation carried out by external experts has shown that Wednesday’s power outage at air traffic controllers Belgocontrol was caused by a combination of factors but that the main cause was a generator that had not be earthed properly. The outage brought disruption to air traffic in skies above Belgium with planes unable to take off or land for many hours.

The outage happened as a result of a test carried out on a diesel engine linked to the diesel generator. A technical fault occurred in the engine heat exchanger resulting in a peak of 400 volts instead of 230 volts. As a result the overvoltage protection failed and then static switches were blown resulting in the outage.

Belgocontrol spokesman Dominique Dehaene believes it’s just as well it happened in this way: "Otherwise the damage would have been a lot worse."

It's unclear who exactly bears responsibility for the fault: the designer, the installer and/or the authority that checked the installation are all still in the picture. Belgocontrol thinks that following tests on Monday the air traffic control agency will once again be able to operate at 100%.