Posts: 13755
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 1999 7:19 am

Close Airports, Close Calls

Tue Jan 21, 2003 5:08 pm

SEA and BFI are close to each other. I have seen planes bound for SEA line up with 13R/31L at BFI but then see their mistake and turn for SEA. Not a huge problem since 742s land at BFI all the time.

But in the Portland area, PDX, Troutedale (TTD-5400' runway) and Vancouver Pearson (VOU-3300' runway) are near each other. I have seen AS line up with VOU and remember Pan Am landing at TTD once in the 70s.

How often does this happen in your area? For the pilots on the board: Why would a captain line up with the wrong airport? How does this happen with ATC talking to them the whole time?
Life in the wall is a drag.
Posts: 3467
Joined: Fri Oct 06, 2006 8:01 am

RE: Close Airports, Close Calls

Tue Jan 21, 2003 5:35 pm

There used to be a gasometer outside of London Heathrow with a big arrow and the name of the airport painted on top, to stop aircraft accidentally landing at a smaller airfield nearby (Northolt?)
Posts: 1536
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 6:42 am

RE: Close Airports, Close Calls

Tue Jan 21, 2003 6:17 pm

That's right, Backfire, in fact a PA 707 landed there in 1960, stopping with very little of the runway left. The gasholders caused some of the confusion, which I think lead to one of them having the arrow painted on.

Here is the cause of the confusion:

Posts: 1553
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2001 9:17 am

RE: Close Airports, Close Calls

Tue Jan 21, 2003 7:30 pm

They don't even have to be close for that to happen.
Remember Northwest landing at Brussels thinking it was Frankfurt??  Wow!
Admiral Ackbar
Posts: 157
Joined: Tue May 28, 2002 2:26 am

RE: Close Airports, Close Calls

Tue Jan 21, 2003 8:47 pm

I seem to remember hearing a story as a child that a pilot landed at Saint-Laurent airport (where Canadair/Bombardier now are) instead of Dorval.

They had a lot of problems getting the plane out of there.

Does any one have more details on this one?

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