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Southwest flight lands at wrong Missouri airport

Southwest Airlines Plane Lands At Wrong Airport



BRANSON, Mo. (AP) -- Federal officials are investigating why a Southwest Airlines flight that was supposed to land at Branson Airport in southwest Missouri, instead landed at another airport about 7 miles away that only had about half as much runway.

Southwest Airlines Flight 4013, carrying 124 passengers and five crew members, was scheduled to go from Chicago's Midway International Airport to Branson Airport, airline spokesman Brad Hawkins said Sunday in a statement. But the Boeing 737-700 landed at Taney County Airport, which is also known as M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport.

"The landing was uneventful, and all customers and crew are safe," Hawkins said.

Hawkins did not have information on why the plane went to the wrong airport. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro says the agency is investigating the incident.

It's the second time in less than two months that a large jet has landed at the wrong airport.

In November, a Boeing 747 that was supposed to deliver parts to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., landed 9 miles north at Col. James Jabara Airport. That plane was flown by a two-person crew and had no passengers.

The website for M. Graham Clark Airport says its longest runway is 3,738 feet. Branson Airport's website says its runway is 7,140 feet long.

"The landing was really abrupt and the pilot applied the brakes really strongly," Dallas attorney Scott Schieffer, who was on the flight, told WFAA-TV. "You could hear it and you could certainly feel it."

Flight tracking website Flightaware.com said the Southwest flight landed at 6:11 p.m. Sunday. It was partly cloudy and in the high 50s in Branson at that time.

"Our ground crew from the Branson airport arrived at the airport to take care of our customers and their baggage," Hawkins said.

Flight 4013 had been scheduled to go from Branson to Dallas' Love Field. Hawkins said a plane was flown in specifically to Branson Airport around 10 p.m. to take the passengers and crew to Dallas, which flightaware.com showed landed at 11:42 p.m.

Hawkins told The Associated Press the aircraft at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport will be able to take off on the smaller runway, and Southwest expects to fly it out "as early as (Monday) morning."

The Taney County Sheriff's Office referred all calls to M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport. Messages left for comment from M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport were not immediately returned.

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Ron Balsom January 13 2014 at 11:23 PM

OK, let's follow 'tradition' here !! Sheridan, Wyoming was the destination for a passenger jet from Denver in about 1984. A runway in Buffalo, Wyoming lines-up with that runway in Sheridan some 30 miles further. YUP, you guessed it !! Captain Fred Ferguson put it down in Buffalo and 'put the town on the map' !!!! A year later the town of Buffalo invited Capt. Fred with a 'parade' thru town and a bar-b-Q with all the folks in Buffalo. Regrettably, some three years, or so later, Capt. Fred passed away following his wife earlier. I happen to be a private pilot myself, however with gps etc. these days, you really need to work at landing at the wrong airport !! Just sayin' ronbalsom@aol.com

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kmalerich January 14 2014 at 10:06 AM

This is true, especially with a full EFIS system and the ability (requirement) to program the arrival runway and have a full pictorial of the correct runway in front of you. This is still the same ‘sucks you in’ scenario as previously where you look out the window and say to yourself 'I see the runway' and forget to cross check the EFIS in front of your face. It can be done and apparently is much too often. Airline Capt

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jsmith120313 January 13 2014 at 10:33 PM

Union pilots I bet......

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mily469 January 14 2014 at 10:43 AM

they are.

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crrunch January 13 2014 at 9:24 PM

What role does air traffic control play into this? Not accusing, just asking.

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kmalerich January 14 2014 at 10:09 AM

ATC basically says, 'Cleared for the Approach' or 'Cleared for the visual approach' if the flight crew states they have the runway in sight. ATC does not guide/navigate aircraft other than to sequence them for arrivals and maintain separation of aircraft.

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johnrader January 13 2014 at 8:57 PM

This happen quite frequently; a simple solution would be to have the first two pairs of runway lights a weird color like blue or green.

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kmalerich January 14 2014 at 10:15 AM

No the solution would be for the pilot to look at his EFIS and make sure that it shows he is lined up with the correct runway which is already programed into the EFIS. You must program an arrival runway into the EFIS, it is basically impossible to program the wrong one. Branson, already programmed into the route would be in the data base, you then just select the desired runway. The outlying airport would not even be in the data base. The error is not looking at the EFIS to verify where you are on the map and saying to yourself ‘I see the runway'. Yes you see ‘a’ runway but the EFIS would confirm you are not lined up with the correct runway.

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Hello Sandy January 13 2014 at 6:00 PM

If the piolet could land at Midway he could land anywhere.

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eeverettm January 13 2014 at 5:11 PM

At least they didn't have their passengers sitting on the tarmac for hours like the other airlines.

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codenamesparrow January 13 2014 at 4:42 PM

Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.

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TOM January 13 2014 at 4:37 PM

What the hell is wrong with these pilots? Don't they KNOW where they are landing? If not, I am not flying ever again!

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kartracerben January 13 2014 at 5:59 PM

That's a good idea sounds like your the kinda guy the airlines would rather have take a bus anyway.

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ascha79846 January 13 2014 at 8:23 PM

BTW Tom...... have you seen Jaws?

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God Bless You January 13 2014 at 4:31 PM

The Controller at the Tower, is he able to identify the type of plane he's controlling. What was
co-pilot doing when the pilot committed the error ? I really believe the Pilot was an exceptional
flyer when he landed in a 1/2 the size of the require landing for that type of plane. He's good !!

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kmalerich January 14 2014 at 10:16 AM

ATC basically says, 'Cleared for the Approach' or 'Cleared for the visual approach' if the flight crew states they have the runway in sight. ATC does not guide/navigate aircraft other than to sequence them for arrivals and maintain separation of aircraft.

No the solution would be for the pilot to look at his EFIS and make sure that it shows he is lined up with the correct runway which is already programed into the EFIS. You must program an arrival runway into the EFIS, it is basically impossible to program the wrong one. Branson, already programmed into the route would be in the data base, you then just select the desired runway. The outlying airport would not even be in the data base. The error is not looking at the EFIS to verify where you are on the map and saying to yourself ‘I see the runway'. Yes you see ‘a’ runway but the EFIS would confirm you are not lined up with the correct runway.

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rjdr425 January 13 2014 at 4:27 PM

I certainly understand how this could happen. It's SOUTHWEST!. Anybody who flys on Southwest is crazy!

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