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Wrong Airport Landings  
User currently offlineAviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1362 posts, RR: 11
Posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7847 times:

Last week's instance of the NW jet touching down accidentally at an Air Force base has me trying to recall other times when crews have made wayward landings. NW ended up at Brussels instead of Frankfurt you might recall in '95, and a US Airways turboprop went astray last January.

I recall a Western Airlines 737 pulling a similar stunt in Wyoming several years ago. Does anybody know any details of when/where this happened, or other cases?

Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
30 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
User currently offlineQuickmover From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2518 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7616 times:

I remember a TWA md83 accidently landing at a small airport near Steamboat. The runway was so short that they took the passengers on to steamboat by bus, took out excess weight and later flew it out.

User currently offlineUnique From Switzerland, joined Mar 2003, 1703 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7598 times:

To take the wrong runway at the right airport can also be fatal (e.g. SQ B744 at TPE on take-off 31OCT2000, WA DC10 at MEX landing on wrong runway 31OCT1979, just to name two).

User currently offlineRareBear From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 553 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7574 times:

Two I recall:

CO B737 landed at a Navy practice field near Corpus Christi instead of the commercial airport. May 1997.

AC A319 almost landed at a small airport in Vernon, BC. Realized error at last minute, pulled up and went to its intended destination at Kelowna, 60 km away. Runway at Vernon was only 3200 ft, too short for A-319. Sept 2003.

Illegitimus non carborundum
User currently offlinePortcolumbus From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 1618 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (11 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 7558 times:

TWA put a 707 into OSU instead of CMH back in the 60s. The two airports are almost in line and have a similar configuration (28L,28R CMH, 27L,27R OSU).

There's some cool pictures of it in the aero lab at OSU.

User currently offlineSeb146 From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 12597 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (11 years 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7520 times:

There were three I had heard of in the Northwest:

United Express was en route to PSC but ended up at Vista Field in Kennewick
PanAm heading for PDX instead landed in Troutdale
Areoflot lined up two times for landing on 1st Avenue in Burien


Life in the wall is a drag.
User currently onlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2156 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (11 years 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 7427 times:

About right airport, but wrong runway, I remember reading in detail about a China Airlines (I think) A-340 taking off from an airport in Alaska... but mistakenly took off from a taxi way. The crew wasn't aware of the error until landing back in their homeland. Apparently they left some tracks in the snow... lifting off just as the taxi way ended.

Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2579 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (11 years 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 7386 times:

Another 747 cargo plane crashed in Anchorage because in the fog, he lined up with the wrong runway. A much shorter runway, resulting in him running off the end.
The simpliest instrument in the cockpit would have prevented this accident; the compass. A quick check of the compass would have confirmed if the compass heading matched his intended runway heading.

Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineAndersjt From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 390 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (11 years 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 7368 times:

Aviateur - the Western Airlines thing happened in 1977 or 1978, if I remember right. I was living in Wyoming at the time. It was when Western still had their hub at Stapleton.

It was a 737 from Denver to Sheridan, Wyoming. The flight had an intermediate stop in Casper. After taking off from Casper, they headed north to Sheridan, and ended up landing in Buffalo, Wyoming. A small town about 60(?) miles south of Sheridan. The cockpit crew had mistaken the Buffalo air strip for the Sheridan airport. The Buffalo strip was not meant to handle 737's but they did land safely. I think there were only about 40 passengers. They were offloaded in Buffalo and bussed to Sheridan. The next morning the aircraft returned to Denver.

Oh how I long for the day when the skies were truly Friendly!
User currently offlineSDFOH From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 74 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (11 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 7283 times:

There were a couple odd DL mishaps in KY back in the late 70's, early 80's. One was a DL DC-9 landed at LOU instead of SDF. No similarity between the two, although the fact that they are only 5 sm apart my be a somewhat mitigating circumstance. The other was another DC-9 was enroute SDF-LEX, and decided to land in the state capital instead, the flt crew were on their last legs and were in a big hurry. It was late and the local twr was closed.

In both circumstances the pax were bussed to their dest. The a/c on the other hand had to wait for mtc to show up and strip the airplane of all non-essential equip. We're talking seats, galleys, lavs. Then the a/c were min fueled and shot out to the nearest airport where all the equip could be replaced.

User currently offlineClickhappy From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 9721 posts, RR: 66
Reply 10, posted (11 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 7275 times:

what about the landing in India at a military field, and they had to gut the 747 interior to get the plane out? Was it a Saudi 747? Someone on here will have the details.

User currently offlineFLYSSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7470 posts, RR: 56
Reply 11, posted (11 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 7257 times:

In the early 90's, an Egypt'Air B743 almost landed at Bretigny Airfield (south of Paris), instead of Paris-Orly. The crew realized their mistake and initiated a go-around just a few seconds before touch down.

Another REAL wrong landing occured on November 3rd 1986, when the crew of an Air Charter B707 landed by mistake at Aqaba (Jordan) instead of Eilat (Israel)...

User currently offlineTLHFLA From United States of America, joined May 2003, 593 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (11 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 7240 times:

I remember hearing of a plane landing at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa instead of Tampa International in 1980. I think it was a 727, although I am not sure which airline. MacDill and Tampa International are about five miles from each other.

Bill in ATL
User currently offlineSteve7E7 From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 478 posts, RR: 49
Reply 13, posted (11 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 7217 times:

In the early 70's an airliner landed at RAF Northolt instead of LHR.

I don't remember which airline it was but I recall they had to strip the seats out before it could fly the few miles back to LHR.


User currently offlineKYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (11 years 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 7195 times:

I have heard that a Delta MD-80 landed in Ormond Beach, FL instead of Daytona Beach. OB is just north of DAB, and has similar runway positions. It was at night too. I don't know the date.

Also, a NW DC-10 landed at Brussels, Belgium instead of Frankfurt, Germany.

"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
User currently offlineNZ767 From New Zealand, joined Nov 2001, 1620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (11 years 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 7101 times:

Amazing that in this day and age with all the modern nav equipment, communications and CRM, that this sort of thing can still happen.  Wow!

User currently offlineStearmanNut From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 352 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (11 years 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 7009 times:

I was doing some Navion touch and go's at Corpus Christi Cudahy field one sunny spring day in 1967. Cudahy ( an old Navy airfield) was under tower control by Corpus Christi Intl, because it is about 2 miles from the main airport.

The radio comes alive: A strongly Spanish accented voice booms out, "Corpos Chreesti tower, Mexicana 214 on final. I have one leetle above me and one leetle one below me, please advise." (Last time I had heard this guy was when he previously radio'ed in over "Flour Bluff Intersection" and was vectored to the proper runway heading for Corpus Intl.)

About that time, I hear a huge roar and see a large shadow as the big Mexicana DC-6 flies between me and another plane in the pattern. I was just lifting off the runway when all this happened. I stayed low and turned out to the right to avoid his wake turbulence.

Corpus vectored him again and instructed him to land on the correct runway and airport this time and to come up and see the tower supervisor. That flight left out of Corpus about 45 minutes later with the same guy at the controls. I bet he got a hot management reception in Mexico City. Funny tho, the FAA never contacted me or the other pilot about the incident.

If wishes were horses, a Tail Dragger I would fly...
User currently offlineA340Spotter From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1986 posts, RR: 22
Reply 17, posted (11 years 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6778 times:

I remember in the late 1990s that Atlas Air ferried a 747-200F into Avra Valley Airport just southeast of Marana, their intended destination. As Avra Valley had just installed lights on their runway, the crew, cleared for arrival visually into MZJ, picked up the lights for Avra Valley and landed, taking out quite a few of the newly installed lights!
They had to remove equipment as well for the short hop across the desert floor.


"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
User currently offlineTasha From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (11 years 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6756 times:

Also, a NW DC-10 landed at Brussels, Belgium instead of Frankfurt, Germany

WOW!!! How did that happen? Brussels and Frankfurt are more than 100 miles apart!

User currently offlineRyanair!!! From Australia, joined Mar 2002, 4771 posts, RR: 24
Reply 19, posted (11 years 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 6724 times:

The NW incident was widely covered in the media. Even us here in Singapore got wind of it. Even as the plane descended for Brussels, the Captain still referred to Frankfurt. Even the Airshow on the main screen showed that the aircraft was headed for Zaventem, and not Frankfurt!

Some of the passengers were aware but made no indication to the crew, presumably they thought the Airshow was screwing up.

Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
User currently offlineArtsyman From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4747 posts, RR: 32
Reply 20, posted (11 years 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 6630 times:

The NW incident at Brussells makes no sense to me at all. Virtually all readings on the plane would confirm that they are nowhere near where they want to be. I can stretch to understand popping through the clouds to see the a runway in front of you that shares the same heading as where you are going, and thus you descend to land, but to be hundreds of miles off seems impossible. The amount of errors and complete stupidity would have to be endless for both pilots, a flight engineer and all the local ATC to not notice what is going on...


User currently offlineSR 103 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1741 posts, RR: 37
Reply 21, posted (11 years 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 6557 times:

Some of the passengers were aware but made no indication to the crew, presumably they thought the Airshow was screwing up.

I know someone who was on that particular flight. They all thought the plane had been hi-jacked or something of that nature. That may explain the reason for the lack of intervention from the passenger cabin.

Still amazes me how such a mistake could have been done in the first place.

SR 103

User currently offlineBostonguy From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 514 posts, RR: 7
Reply 22, posted (11 years 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 5832 times:

Korean Air Lines had a real doozy with a 707 in 1978.

A commercial flight with a Paris-Anchorage-Seoul routing made a u-turn after having passed out of radar range over northern Greenland (where it was still on-course).

It was next spotted over a secret Soviet military base in Murmansk. It was shot at by Soviet fighters, damaged (2 passengers were killed by the shots), descended to 3,000 feet and then flew around northern Soviet Union for 90 minutes before landing at night on a frozen lake.

Not exactly a "wrong airport" situation, but you have to be off course in order to land at the wrong airport and so this Korean Air Lines incident might be a good example of being WAY off course and landing somewhere other than the intended destination.

One needs a globe or a polar map to really appreciate how far off course this plane strayed.

User currently offlineJamake1 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1047 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (11 years 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 5598 times:

I remember in the early 1980's a Pacific Express BAC-111 was enroute to either Redmond/Bend or Klamath Falls, Oregon and landed at the wrong airport in Prineville, Oregon.

United's B747-400. "She's a a cruel lover."
User currently offlineLat41 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 502 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (11 years 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5184 times:

I beleive in the 80's an American 727-200 landed at Quonset Airport in N. Kingstown RI (a converted Naval Air Station) instead of Green Airport PVD several miles to the North. Runway headings were similar.

25 Post contains links Rikkus67 : THE "NEW" WP COLORSCHEME: Hey Guys, Here is a link to a timetable with the "new" WPA colorscheme (of June '97 and on...) rather attractive, actually..
26 Americanairfan : How can a plane on Auto Pilot with ILS land on the wrong runway? and even the wrong country!?
27 LV : I heard a story about a DC9 landing at EYE (eagle creek) instead of IND. only had about a 1/3 of the runway he thought he did. IND and EYE are about 5
28 Post contains images StevenUhl777 : PanAm heading for PDX instead landed in Troutdale United did the same thing a long time ago...a DC-8 landed at Troutdale, some 10-15 miles east of 28L
29 Milesrich : In the 70's, a UA 727 landed at Ft Lauderdale Executive instead of FLL. An OZ FH-227B landed in Dixon IL, the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan, instead o
30 HaveBlue : Bostonguy do you have a link to some info on that account? I believe you, but that is an incredulous story. So bullets from a Soviet fighter killed tw
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