Wed January 8, 2014
Dreamlifter Pilots Thought Equipment Was Faulty, Used Eyesight To Land At Wrong Airport
One of the pilots of a Boeing 747 that landed at the wrong airport in Wichita last November was not sure the plane was landing at the right place.
The Trade publication Aviation International News, or AIN, obtained a copy of a training video describing what happened.
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, which employed the pilots and made the video, confirmed that Atlas pilots were aiming to land at McConnell Air Force Base.
Instead, they landed at Col. James Jabara airport, 9 miles away.
An Atlas executive on the video says the co-pilot's flight display had intermittent issues earlier in the flight.
Those issues made the pilots 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 using his vision, after spotting a brightly-lit runway to his left.
The pilot disconnected the autopilot and descended more rapidly toward that runway.
According to AIN's description of the video, the other pilot "was uncertain about the runway's identity, but remained silent."
The plane landed safely and flew the next day to its intended destination.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.