Jumbo Oops! Giant Cargo Plane Mistakenly Lands at Tiny Airport

By ABC News

Nov 21, 2013 8:20am

ABC News’ Rebecca Lee and Anthony Castellano report:

An enormous Boeing 747 Dreamlifter cargo plane landed at the wrong Kansas airport Wednesday night, according to the Wichita Airport Authority.

Atlas Air flight 4241 was en route to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas when it inadvertently landed about eight miles north at Colonel James Jabara Airport at approximately 9:21 p.m. local time. The two pilots on board were not injured, and no damage was sustained to the plane, the Wichita Airport Authority said.

The plane was turned around this morning by a tug, and it’s scheduled to leave the airport later today, Assistant Director of Airports in Wichita Brad Christopher said at a news conference this morning.

Jabara’s runway is approximately 6,101 feet, much shorter than what is typically used for a 747 for takeoff.

Engineers have conducted calculations — assessing windspeed, weather and the weight of the aircraft — and said the Dreamlifter would be able to take off despite the short runway, according to Christopher.

The pilots of the Dreamlifter were apparently not aware of their mistake until a few moments after they had landed the jumbo jet Wednesday night.

“We might, we ugh, we’ll get back to you momentarily. We’re not on your approach,” the crew of the 747 told the control tower at McConnell.

“McConnell is nine miles southeast,” the control tower radioed back.

“Yes, sir. We just landed at the other airport,” the pilot said.

New pilots will arrive from New York to fly the plane to McConnell, Christopher said.

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Caleb Carey

The Dreamlifter is primarily used for transporting parts of the 787 Dreamliner around the world for Boeing to its suppliers. Boeing currently operates four Dreamlifters, which have a wing span of 211 feet.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it “investigates any deviation, and we are investigating this event, which is standard procedure.”

“We are working to determine next steps and will have additional information in the morning,” Boeing said in a statement to ABC News.

Atlas Air has not yet made any comment about the incident.

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