Wrong Airport Plane Attempts Takeoff

Original pilot suspended by Southwest.
3:00 | 01/13/14

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Transcript for Wrong Airport Plane Attempts Takeoff
This is a special room. -- new -- -- ABC news digital special report north. By southwest taking a live look here this passenger jet that -- at the wrong airport in Missouri earlier today. Is now trying to take off the runway the problem though could be. The runway may be too short because that and that the edge of a cliff. And a plane that size does not necessarily designed to land at an airport with the -- -- restriction like that southwest flight. 4013. Took off from Chicago was supposed to let -- -- of Missouri's main airport. Instead it -- at the airport is currently at a smaller airport about eight miles away. Other passengers have been bused to the correct airport the plane has been and to lighten the plane. And to ensure for a short field takeoff. We're gonna continue to monitor that take up there but I want to bring -- aviation Lawler former inspector general of the US Department of Transportation. Mary Schiavo so -- we can see there the -- -- -- I don't know if you're able to catch a glimpse this as well but -- -- the towers pushing the plane back. Tell -- that about the restrictions and as far as the that the length of the runway that that this plane has to navigate. Well short. And 500 feet witch's. Hat brands and -- Pretty plain and amp. T he should be able to do I see you might as they were. Locked in IDB and it's hard -- It helped passengers it -- will be that an empty -- of the pilot. Co pilot on board and Boeing delta applying. And applying to be -- off on shorter and sell out by Boeing. Over. Center and it should be able to do it but it's anti this plane probably can't -- more than just airing next major airport her refuel. And -- things on board so it's pretty -- now. I notice he -- -- a silly question but if planes are designed to be able to take off in that short capacity. Why don't pilots take off like that. Well two reasons why it's not. Unique -- base runway or don't have overrun -- -- or a theories at the hands were working to make all airport so commercial airports any when he -- -- Safety overrun area -- People -- remember southwest. -- about five years ago. Wearing a snowstorm. Stop -- Iran going onto highway out about persons lost their lives wage and so you don't want to use -- Iran he needs extra space annual hospital. Like this -- -- which is we all had engines -- it -- put it in the youngest it turns its engines -- -- -- -- so much and when -- -- state -- role it will be very vigorous and and it will not look pretty steep climb -- which she can't and he. Now passengers ever get quite all right -- as are all right lies deceit strides she can't so that's why they don't routinely do -- she even though the plane can't handle. Jet -- it because it is it to say that it's gonna have to essentially take up you have more of like almost a shotgun approach. How much faster then will it accelerate once the brakes are lifted. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And we you can see it actually one of the trucks that's been going around -- and sort of certainly that the parameter of the runway there. It sounded like as we've been monitoring this is well there is -- as if they were shooting off like some firecrackers or something earlier on did you hear that as well. -- -- -- -- A lot of things in Iraq might carries -- opera's -- responsible for example I'm sound -- -- is at Reagan national to scare away any loud like animals should they can't abort its take off. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- It is -- you know -- -- we sort of make light of it but in fact that he I guess I hadn't realized sort of the and the intensity of that. And kind of situation when you are taking up from from such a short runway like that thumb and and we know that southwest has suspended its pilots. As far as a rep for many -- but what about the airline themselves will they face any kind of a penalty for this for having landed at the wrong airport. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Right which is why a lot of the Brittany -- of fun and it's not invade the conversation was taking place not only and the cockpit but also the company between the -- -- -- -- with the control tower as well. I know I spoke to you a little bit earlier about this. But review again how exactly this can happen as far as. Sort of think the guidelines and and the reference if you are gonna land by visual approach as opposed to relying strictly on your instrument. -- -- -- -- -- In this -- are -- Chicago you have several different -- control facility that she -- -- he took our -- in the departure control -- many so called -- control air traffic control handles -- why you're going from one city another -- and then -- -- in the area where you're going different controllers -- most -- hand -- from the air traffic control is that -- -- -- to go to brands -- it probably gave him clearance mr. Branson told to contact the -- power -- however. Once they got clearance to make of the usual approach and visual laying out there wasn't any other trapped in the area they had to be following -- wasn't close sequencing and separation. College has control probably cleared land on a visual approach -- -- contact -- -- instructions on Iran branch so it's entirely possible in the air traffic controller does not. It's. -- Clearance -- -- really didn't know. What they were doing and where it we're just. It and take your visual. Approached and there a visual flight rules land -- and since it was dark and numbers on -- run would have been a real clear that you're not it on -- fourteen. Arab well. Health. But sometimes -- numbers that -- -- in the same direction heading -- -- seven for example both ways could have been mark is saying he's not. Entirely in saint. All right as -- watching -- now starting to roll along the runway that we'll have to wait see and listen the same time when we're running through the engines rev. On the so what else -- they get ambulances if they are going to be looking at the at the end. Voice cockpit conversation. What else would they be able to glean from this -- it would it be any any sort of previous references to other airports being in the area because again this. The airport that it was intended to land that is eight miles to the south so. And for him from what you and I were talking about earlier is in the -- is actually be an easy thing to confused because of the proximity. Well on. This -- to determine how to. Get there -- it was lay claim five hours late eighties artists. This this airport where undoubtedly anxious to get this plane down. Yours are going on to Iran says that night as well so my guess is once they had an -- -- -- they were intent on getting the getting hot again and not a fairly close monitoring their instruments -- is a pretty new plane a 737. Seven hundred's. Mean this is why you'll 730 sevens it. Great very modern screens you get visual. Information also about the airport location ordinances -- heritage. And you sure. You're supposed to follow you you get all information. -- so they. Watching very closely think they get there right is coming. Five hours seen here boarding your barreling -- a year or and you. You know in this case. Taking it EE eighty looking at the their equipment senator would help but I expect it. Look at pilot fatigue -- -- well. Oh and we just heard a collective sigh from the control room and obviously us as well losing the signal on -- try to reestablish that -- I don't know if you have another access to it as there it -- is it. The -- is about ready to to take off from this. This is not the first time lead at the wrong airport has happened now. Well not it is not first time -- -- many times usually passengers. It's O or the passengers it's it's and you usually milder or. Any interest in T -- G -- On -- seek. Out its. -- -- General aviation. With some treatments especially on a visual flight rules land once you see Bradley going to -- except to land on the run and carrying. Neary reports of general aviation. -- Training planning -- -- or running -- that facility and saying. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- it does does this thing is that gonna sparked more conversation about the possibility of reliance on technology as opposed to human in staying -- and and that visual reference. And will -- after. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So I think that in our students well you got so I -- your -- well you have been on the -- Said nobody is our hands. And let me tell you I wished I can't be that man that. So Britain's great -- Why -- and that's -- what did you bring out because I would imagine that. That there has to be sort of that that change -- how pilots are learning and how they need to kind of perform their duties and their responsibilities. By using these advanced tools that are coming out almost on a regular basis. As opposed to relying on your own personal judgment. -- it is an example -- flying and -- screen scanning instruments -- developments and matters you know answer answer one except whatever -- -- -- and and then go back -- instruments and you're lying you know let the top of the year you're getting need -- timing how do you acts. Well it's it's time straining honestly that our law -- -- -- timer and he's he's pilots you know our slate added there's no indication is their fault. -- -- -- -- but -- -- and it's -- and you finally see an airport you know you'll -- about sailing. Accident happened when you're close to landfall. And -- want to get the plane on the ground tired and make your schedules so it's it's easy it's not acceptable it's easy for the -- pattern all the way he needed to do something -- the planes are so good -- eat -- your mind on you can't MI said. If there was any. Improper -- in -- Which lead -- to be distracted from monitoring instruments sex in -- percent trouble. There isn't an -- rejects tired and solid -- and just in Italy zeroed in on. How they'll probably -- retraining name might have some consequences but they'll probably keep their job but that's highest security -- your instruments -- Whittier flying visually is against SCANA stock. How often. Our discussions taking place about how the federal aviation is train its pilots based on incidents like this is that a constant discussion or is -- -- that comes up. And just sporadically on a case by case basis. Well the Federal Aviation Administration. It is meant some it is aimed captures some earnings overseen some -- airlines and really airlines are administered. Lottery. Here's. A group of FAA employees -- each airline. Is the work with the airlines. And monitor and manage your huge issue -- -- -- is what gives them legal right -- means there -- open. Air. And so its regional. -- out there. At a collective -- venture a sigh of relief as well Southwest Airlines flight. It did take. Anybody is our deal utter old phrase -- used to say it ain't Boeing -- dole. Well then how are still Boeing's -- engineering. Is it it is it is interest -- again to think that it only has spent eight miles between the correct airport. Any airport that that southwest plane just took off from having made. A bit of a detour at last night everyone was fine everyone was eventually bused over to Branson Missouri but of course. There was a little bit -- -- this afternoon about how that 737 was actually get a believed that smaller airport with that shortened runway not quite designed. Four plane that size to take off from well well we see we see success in the air now aviation attorney. Mary's got to thank you so much rarely appreciated and I believe site. And of course -- -- -- a have a complete report coming up on world news with Diane Sawyer tonight for -- I'm -- -- in New York this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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