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Jumbo jet lands at wrong US airport

A large BoAtlas Air Worldwide Holdingseing 747 Dreamlifter cargo plane of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. (AAWW) landed at the wrong airport Wednesday night after takeoff from New York’s John F. Kennedy airport. Although it was heading for McConnell air force base in Wichita it accidentally touched down instead at the Colonel James Jabara airport located 9 miles away.

The pilots of the craft are heard saying “Yes sir, we just landed at the other airport,” on a recording of radio calls posted on the website of Wichita TV station KSN.

According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration the aircraft had landed safely at 9:44 p.m. local time on Wednesday at Jabara – a small municipal airfield in Kansas that does not even have a control tower. There were no injuries or property damage reported.

The Boeing 747-400 has the capacity to carry 660 passengers and is said to be able to carry more volume than any other aircraft in the world. Its jumbo size may be estimated by the fact that it has been designed and used for the transportation of major assembly parts of other big planes.

“Cockpit instruments and navigation devices should have made it clear to the pilots that they were at the wrong airport,” says David Esser, professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

“It doesn’t happen every day. But it sure happens every year. I wouldn’t even call it unusual,” says John Purvis, retired chief accident investigator for Boeing.

There was a lot of speculation as to whether the jumbo jet which needed a 9,199ft-long runway to take off would be able to pull it off on Jabara airport’s runway of 6,101ft.

The aircraft had however been successful in taking off without issue and according to www.FlightAware.com had landed at McConnell at 1:35 p.m Thursday.


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