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The jet took off again Thursday and within minutes landed at its original destination.
That could help explain the mistake. Pilots also say it can be tough to tell a long runway from a shorter one on final approach. And Jabara is directly on the path toward McConnell.
According to flight tracking service FlightAware, this particular DreamLifter has been shuttling between Kansas and Italy, where the centre fuselage section and part of the tail of the 787 are made.
Instead, the cargo plane landed at the smaller Col. James Jabara Airport.
Once every month or two, a pilot headed toward Wichita Mid Continent airport begins to turn toward McConnell by mistake, said Brent Spencer, a former air traffic controller in Wichita who is now an assistant professor at Embry Riddle Nike Vapormax Unlaced
Mid Continent and McConnell an almost identical runway setup, so it was not at all uncommon for an airliner or someone coming in from the east to pick up the wrong runway lights, he said.
Boeing new 787 Dreamliner to a nearby company that makes large sections of the next generation jet.
While it rare for a pilot to land at the wrong airport, confusion is common.
Boeing spokesman Doug Alder said the company would be consulting with Atlas to out exactly what happened so that it doesn happen again. Federal Aviation Administration planned to investigate whether the pilot followed controllers instructions or violated any federal regulations.
A Boeing 747 "Dreamlifter" takes off Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, the day after it mistakenly landed at Col. James Jabara Airport in Wichita, Kan. The jet landed Wednesday evening at the airport, about 8 miles (13 kilometers) north of its intended destination, the McConnell Air Force Base. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Fernando Salazar) LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT; LOCAL RADIO OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT
Jabara runway length is toward the low end of what Boeing recommends for the 747. How much runway the plane needs varies depending on weather, the weight of the loaded plane and the airport elevation.
Boeing jumbo jet mistakenly lands at wrong airport
An Atlas Air spokeswoman declined to answer questions and referred inquiries to Boeing.
The following month, a Silver Airways pilot making one of the airline first flights to Bridgeport, West Virginia, mistakenly landed his Saab 340 at a tiny airport in nearby Fairmont.
WICHITA, Kan. Moments after touching down, the pilot of a cargo hauling Boeing 747 jet seemed confused in his exchanges with air traffic controllers. When told he was 14 kilometres north of his intended destination, he made an unusual admission: yes sir, we just landed at the other airport. runway Nike Vapormax Silver one that just happened to be long enough.
Although rare, landings by large aircraft at smaller airports have happened from time to time.
The modified 747 is one of a fleet of four that hauls parts around the world to make Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The is a 747 400 with its body expanded to hold whole fuselage sections and other large parts.
AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Fernando Salazar LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT; LOCAL RADIO OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT
The plane flew into an area where there are three airports with similar runway configurations: the air force base, the Jabara airfield and a third facility in between called Beech Airport.
Over the radio, the pilot could be heard mixing up east and west, acknowledging he could not read his own handwriting and getting distracted from the conversation by at something else. 747, flown by a two person crew with no passengers, intended to touch down late Wednesday at McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas, where it was supposed to deliver parts for Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit Men's Running Shoe
Boeing owns the plane involved in the mistaken landing, but it operated by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, a New York based company that provides crews or planes to companies Nike Vapormax Custom
In July last year, a cargo plane bound for MacDill Air Force base in Florida landed without incident at the small Peter O. Knight Airport nearby.
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