Wings Magazine

Disoriented pilot confesses to landing at wrong airport

Jan. 8, 2014, Wichita, Kan. - One of the pilots of a Boeing 747 that landed at the wrong airport in Kansas in November wasn't sure they were landing at the right place, according a trade publication that obtained a copy of a training video that described what happened.

January 8, 2014  By The Associated Press

The training video was produced by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings,
which employed the pilots, and was obtained by Aviation International
News. Atlas confirmed the accuracy of the AIN report on Tuesday but
declined to provide the video to The Associated Press.


The Atlas pilots were flying a modified Boeing 747 called
the "Dreamlifter," used to haul large sections of Boeing's new 787. They
were aiming to land at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, which is
near a facility that makes portions of the 787. Instead, they landed at
Col. James Jabara airport, 9 miles away.



AIN reported late Monday that an
Atlas executive on the crew training video says the co-pilot's flight
display had intermittent issues earlier in the flight, causing the
pilots to be skeptical about the reliability of the plane's automation.


So although they were using the
plane's instruments to guide them to McConnell, the flying pilot
abandoned that approach and flew visually after spotting a brightly-lit
runway slightly to his left.


The pilot disconnected the autopilot and
descended more rapidly toward that runway. The other pilot, who wasn't
flying, "was uncertain about the runway's identity, but remained
silent," according to AIN's description of the video.


The plane landed safely and flew the next day to its intended destination.


The incident is being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration.


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