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Pilots Often Head to Wrong Airports, Reports Show

Pilots Often Head to Wrong Airports, Reports Show

Old Feb 10, 14, 6:44 am
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Pilots Often Head to Wrong Airports, Reports Show

On at least 150 flights, including one involving a Southwest Airlines jet last month in Missouri and a jumbo cargo plane last fall in Kansas, U.S. commercial air carriers have either landed at the wrong airport or started to land and realized their mistake in time, according to a search by The Associated Press of government safety databases and media reports since the early 1990s.
Landing at the right San Jose, CA airport seems to be particularly difficult for pilots.

Nearly all of the accidents occurred at night and because pilots were flying the planes relying not on automation but on what they could see. Pilots can be attracted to the runway lights of the first airport that they see upon descent and may disregard navigation equipment which shows that they are slightly off from where they need to be.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/101402486

IMHO, 150 flights in about a decade doesn't sound terrible, but at the same time if in the evenings I followed the freeway lights that I felt myself being drawn to, I might end up in Mexico instead of my apartment in LA.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 9:26 am
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Wrong ?

IMHO, nothing tops my childhood memory of a BOAC Comet landing at the Juhu Airport in Bombay (now Mumbai) instead of the nternational Santacruz airport. About 3 miles separating both, oriented on similar compass points.

Juhu is more suited for a DC 3 sized airplanes, used mainly by a Flying Club and Auxillary Air Forces of India.

I saw this landing, the pilot must have realized his point of no return while landing...upon tochdown he got nose wheel in the grassy part, folloed by the left main gear in the grassy area at the edge, slowing it down, otherwise it would have crossed two ditches, a main toroughfare and residences.

Staye dthere for over a month, a tourist attraction no less. Tens of thousands of people turned up to see it take off on such a short runway.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 10:05 am
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A bit of a silly question I could probably google, but do GPS / Satnav devices not work in planes? They do a reasonably good job getting me to where I mean to go in a car.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 10:31 am
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Originally Posted by atsak View Post
A bit of a silly question I could probably google, but do GPS / Satnav devices not work in planes? They do a reasonably good job getting me to where I mean to go in a car.
They work fine in airplanes. You have to look at them and correctly interpret the display for them to be of any use. When you're on a visual final approach to what you believe is the correct runway, you're probably not double checking your GPS to see if you're going to the wrong airport. Your attention is focused outside of the cockpit on the landing runway and the inside on the few instruments necessary to execute a safe landing.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 10:34 am
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Originally Posted by HMPS View Post
IMHO, nothing tops my childhood memory of a BOAC Comet landing at the Juhu Airport in Bombay (now Mumbai) instead of the nternational Santacruz airport. About 3 miles separating both, oriented on similar compass points.

Juhu is more suited for a DC 3 sized airplanes, used mainly by a Flying Club and Auxillary Air Forces of India.

I saw this landing, the pilot must have realized his point of no return while landing...upon tochdown he got nose wheel in the grassy part, folloed by the left main gear in the grassy area at the edge, slowing it down, otherwise it would have crossed two ditches, a main toroughfare and residences.

Staye dthere for over a month, a tourist attraction no less. Tens of thousands of people turned up to see it take off on such a short runway.
I looked this up because it sounded interesting.

The landing was on July 15, 1953. A news story is here.

Last edited by cblaisd; Feb 12, 14 at 9:03 pm Reason: Edited for clarity for the sake of future searching
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Old Feb 10, 14, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by TravelingPeanut View Post
Landing at the right San Jose, CA airport seems to be particularly difficult for pilots.
At least landing in Moffett Field isn't likely to be catastrophic. The runways are more than long enough to land a 747, C-5, or pretty much anything else. The primary runway is nearly 9,200' long. I was wondering how anyone would mistake KNUQ for KSJC given the distinctive hangars at Moffett during the day, but at night, I could somewhat understand the mistake.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 2:40 pm
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Originally Posted by HMPS View Post
IMHO, nothing tops my childhood memory of a BOAC Comet landing at the Juhu Airport in Bombay (now Mumbai) instead of the nternational Santacruz airport. About 3 miles separating both, oriented on similar compass points.

Juhu is more suited for a DC 3 sized airplanes, used mainly by a Flying Club and Auxillary Air Forces of India.

I saw this landing, the pilot must have realized his point of no return while landing...upon tochdown he got nose wheel in the grassy part, folloed by the left main gear in the grassy area at the edge, slowing it down, otherwise it would have crossed two ditches, a main toroughfare and residences.

Staye dthere for over a month, a tourist attraction no less. Tens of thousands of people turned up to see it take off on such a short runway.

What about the 747
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Old Feb 10, 14, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
I looked this up because it sounded interesting.

The landing was on July 15, 1953. A news story is here.
I enjoyed reading the paper and looking at the crossword puzzle

Last edited by cblaisd; Feb 12, 14 at 9:04 pm
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Old Feb 10, 14, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
I looked this up because it sounded interesting.

The landing was on July 15, 1953. A news story is here.
Thanks. Never occurred to me to Google it as I was an eye witness !
My dad ran a small air service out of there prior to nationalization of airlines in India.

Thank you.

Originally Posted by kburges View Post
What about the 747
What 747 ?

Last edited by cblaisd; Feb 12, 14 at 9:04 pm
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Old Feb 10, 14, 7:01 pm
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I actually had a dream that I was on a plane that accidentally landed at Hawthorne instead of LAX
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Old Feb 10, 14, 7:23 pm
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Last edited by ROCAT; Mar 29, 17 at 7:22 pm
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Old Feb 10, 14, 7:48 pm
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Originally Posted by Spectre17 View Post
They work fine in airplanes. You have to look at them and correctly interpret the display for them to be of any use. When you're on a visual final approach to what you believe is the correct runway, you're probably not double checking your GPS to see if you're going to the wrong airport. Your attention is focused outside of the cockpit on the landing runway and the inside on the few instruments necessary to execute a safe landing.
Well this is good but it seems to me there ought to be a "pilot optimized" GPS in commercial airliners particularly you can program with the runway number when you get it really quickly and it tells you if you're on the right path . . . won't help doing a corkscrew into LHR or any weird hold patterns like that but in straight in approaches . . .

I am probably over simplifying but it seems to me there should be a tech assist possible here.
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Old Feb 10, 14, 10:12 pm
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I well recall this landing at the wrong place at the right airport... a Continental 757 landed on a parallel EWR taxiway instead of on runway 29.

Last edited by cblaisd; Feb 12, 14 at 9:04 pm Reason: Edited for clarity for the sake of future searching
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Old Feb 10, 14, 10:28 pm
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Don Scott?

Here's another one, where a 707 landed at The Ohio State University Airport instead of CMH. I remember hearing about this as a kid, even though I wasn't yet born when it happened! It was part of the local lore, and pictures of the 707 at night, just after landing, still hung on the wall of the Don Scott "terminal" when I was a student there.

Article here.

Quote:
"In a mistake so breathtakingly bad it is still recalled 45 years later, TWA pilot Howard Chittenden landed his 707 jetliner, carrying 49 passengers and a crew of seven, at the wrong airport shortly after midnight on July 4, 1967.

[.....]

Crittenden personally contacted all of the passengers to apologize."


I wonder if the WN pilot contacted all of the passengers personally?
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Old Feb 11, 14, 5:47 am
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I think my favorite of these stories is the Air France-owned 727 that landed at Aqaba in Jordan instead of Eilat in Israel in 1986:
http://news.google.com/newspapers?ni...g=4338,1635673
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