News Item

B-747 lands at wrong airport

A Boeing 747 Dreamlifter has landed at a small airport in Kansas in mistake for a large military base nearby.

On 20 November, the Atlas Air cargo aircraft planned to fly from NY's John F Kennedy airport to McConnell Air Force Base. It seems that McConnell gave landing clearance, but the aircraft went on to land at the small Col James Jabara Airport, about 9 miles away.

Reports of air traffic conversations indicate that the crew initially had no idea of where they had landed, although McConnell ATC confirmed that they were not there.

McConnel's runway is ~9,200 ft long, but Jabara's is just ~6,100 ft, leading to speculation that the over-sized B-747 would not safely be able to take off again. But, after 13 hours - and no doubt many take-off performance calculations - the aircraft was safely airborne for a 19-minute flight back to McConnell AFB.

The Dreamlifter is a modified 747-400 which claims to be able to carry more cargo by volume than any other aircraft in the world. Boeing uses 4 Dreamlifters, operated by Atlas Air, to transport large assembled components for the 787 Dreamliner from suppliers around the world for final assembly in Washington state.

Most honest aircrew will admit to having nearly - if not actually - landed at the wrong airfield in the past; but with current technology giving position to around one metre, explanations nowadays should be particularly interesting . .

  • 21 November 2013
  • CMAG

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