Thursday, November 21, 2013

"Where are we?"...Oops!

This story is only funny because no one got hurt, I suppose.

Last night, a Boeing 747 specially fitted to carry cargo landed at a small airport in Kansas, miles away from the airport where it was meant to land, on a runway significantly shorter than it was meant to land on. At first it was feared that the Dreamlifter, reported to be one of only four planes like it in the world, would be grounded for awhile because the runway was thought to be too short for it to take off at it's fully-loaded weight. However, as reported on, the plane was able to turn around (after what was described as "more than a three-point turn") and take off this morning, despite less than ideal weather that included wind gusts of up to 30 miles an hour.

Here's a link to a story on the take-off. And here is a clip showing the successful take-off of the plane for it's fifteen-minute flight to its intended destination:

The question this raises is, how in the world did this happen? Were the pilots not paying attention? Was the plane's navigational equipment malfunctioning? And how in the world does a pilot mistake a small commercial airport for the landing field at an Air Force Base?

Now, I'm not a pilot, so I don't know the answers to these questions. Maybe this sort of mistake is really easy to make. It was a night landing, after all, and the pilots only missed their intended destination by eight miles. Still, don't most large jets these days have fairly sophisticated navigation systems?

I'm sure we'll here more details about this monumental foul-up later on. For now, I'm just thinking that this story gives me another good reason not to fly.

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