LAS757300
Posts: 254
Joined: Fri May 14, 2004 2:04 pm

NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 4:26 am

A NW airlines A319 landed at Ellsworth Airforce base instead of Rapid City. I can't figure out how a large airliner could land at an Airforce base by mistake. ATC certainly would direct them to the proper airport as they approached the Airforce base.

http://www.startribune.com/stories/1631/4837686.html
KMSP
 
nwcoflyer
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 4:38 am

Very interesting. I remember something similar happening on a CO flight several years ago.
The New American is arriving.
 
nwcoflyer
Posts: 677
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2003 7:55 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 4:41 am

Here is the flight information from NWA. Kind of funny.

Departs: MSP Arrives: RCA
Gate: C14 Gate:
Scheduled: 11:37AM Scheduled:
Actual: 11:39AM Actual: 12:20PM
Aircraft: A319 Weather: RCA
Status: Arrived

Departs: RCA Arrives: RAP
Gate: Gate: 5
Scheduled: Scheduled: 12:15PM
Actual: 3:30PM Actual: 3:57PM
Aircraft: A319 Weather: RAP
Note: Diversion/delay due to flight crew discretion.

The New American is arriving.
 
geg2rap
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 4:50 am

oops....they are really close to each other within 5 nm. I think rap has runway 14/ 32 and elsworth has 16/34.......319's only run to rap in the summer....a dc-9 pilot could land there in his sleep.
You would figure their charts would offer one help with that...
ps this stuff always happens when I am out of town. Actually there was a recent divirsion there for medical reasons it was UA forgot if it was a 757 or 767...a little big for rap.
 
Theiler
Posts: 576
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:01 am

I would have hoped that there was more to this story. Certain things tend to differentiate an Air Force Base from a civilain field. In this case, the 5000 feet of additional runway, the lack of an intersecting runway, etc.

Considering the approach control is Ellsworth-based (RAPCON), there would have to be a serious breakdown for this to happen.

They probably shouldn't have accepted a visual approach (assuming they did), if there was a chance of going IMC.  Smile
 
Type-Rated
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:50 am

You would think that the localizer and glideslope wouldn't match up with the position of the aircraft and they would notice this before landing. In the days before 9/11 military bases were very touchy about who lands there and when. So I imagine that post 9/11 the military bases are even more aggressive.
I don't think the pilots will get canned, but I do think they will have to undergo some kind of recurrency evaluation.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
asuflyer05
Posts: 2054
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:10 am

At first I thought it was a charter for Air Force ROTC cadets completing their Field Training at Ellsworth. But then I read the article...

Matt

[Edited 2004-06-21 00:11:33]
 
FLAIRPORT
Posts: 3863
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:26 am

from what i see, it might have been a combination of ATC and pilot errors...time will tell, though!
NEXT FLIGHT: FLL-ATL-HPN on FL
 
nwa man
Posts: 1752
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 1999 3:24 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:34 am

I'm not going to make any excuses for the pilots - it was an obvious error, and they should probably be disciplined. But take a look at this:


Ellsworth AFB:




Rapid City Regional Airport:




If these aviators were unfamiliar with the field (very plausible, since NW hasn't been flying the A319 into RAP for long), it's probably very easy to confuse RAP with RCA. Again, this is inexcusable, but I see how it happened.


Regards,

N-Dub
Create your own luck.
 
CVGpilot
Posts: 579
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:43 am

Its 7:41pm EST and still have not heard any more details on the news about the flight, wonder why? Anyone got more info please share!
 
greenjet
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:21 am

Not the first time NW have landed at the wrong airport. A couple of years ago a DC-10 landed at Brussels instead of Frankfurt. D'oh.
 
flyingbronco05
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:48 am

Never Trust Your Fuel Gauge
 
nwa man
Posts: 1752
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:58 am

And yes, that one was first.


Real nice, descriptive topic title on that thread too...  Yeah sure

[Edited 2004-06-21 03:04:30]
Create your own luck.
 
md80fanatic
Posts: 2365
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:28 am

I simply cannot believe the story on this incident. If it was merely a situation where TWO pilots mistake one airport for the other then why the 3.5 hour delay? And why replace the crew with another before the plane reached it's final destination 5 nm away? Does NW keep a standby crew on duty at Ellsworth in case a commercial crew accidently lands there? I cannot see NW driving a fresh crew onto a major airbase where "civilians" are requested to "close their eyes". Wouldn't allowing the already seated crew to make the jump across town make more sense?

I am amazed at how people totally swallow the first breaking news reports....but in the same breath poo poo the exact same style reportage on the day of 9-11. Now that I think about it....it figures!
 
garnetpalmetto
Posts: 5351
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:59 am

The funny thing is, the passengers probably looked out their windows, saw this scene



nd thought "Hey, lookit the 747s!" The Air Force assumed that the passengers knew anything about military aviation.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
Theiler
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:04 am

According to the charts, both airports have towers... I'm surprised that Grand Forks tower cleared them to land without ascertaining their position, or having them in sight.

Consider the danger in this.. Suppose a B-1B is on an opposite direction approach to Ellsworth at the same time, talking to the APP/TWR controllers on a UHF-frequency, unknown to the NW flight. NW most likely landed without clearance. A collision with a B-1B (possibly carrying nuclear weapons) would have been devastating.

The security concerns come from the fact that Ellsworth is an active duty base, with bombers on alert. There are things going on that are potentially classified.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:20 am

>>>I simply cannot believe the story on this incident. If it was merely a situation where TWO pilots mistake one airport for the other then why the 3.5 hour delay? And why replace the crew with another before the plane reached it's final destination 5 nm away? Does NW keep a standby crew on duty at Ellsworth in case a commercial crew accidently lands there? I cannot see NW driving a fresh crew onto a major airbase where "civilians" are requested to "close their eyes". Wouldn't allowing the already seated crew to make the jump across town make more sense?


From a flight ops management perspective, I suspect the SOP (at many places) is to assume that the crew involved in an incident are "unusable" until at least a cursory investigation into the incident can be made. Management can't afford the -situational- possibility of them approving another flight (however short in duration) with the same crew until things can be checked out. For example, (AND I AM NOT STATING OR INFERRING THAT THIS WAS THE CASE WITH THE NWA CREW), if a crew goofed up something because of substance abuse, management wouldn't want the crew to have a second chance to make another similar (or worse) mistake on a subsequent flight. Just to reiterate, I AM NOT ACCUSING THE NWA CREW OF ANYTHING, and am bringing this up only in the context of why some managements may routinely have crews replaced after incidents.

NWA may have had another crew in crewrest at RAP, and decided to use them for the hop from RCA-RAP, and it took awhile to get ahold of them (if they weren't in their rooms). There may have NOT been another crew at RAP, and they had to deadhead one in from from somehere else. Bottomline is that there could be a variety of valid reasons why it took 3.5 hours to resolve things. Neithet do I think that the passengets were made to keep their eyes closed for 3.5 hours, but I don't doubt that the window shades were kept down...




[Edited 2004-06-21 04:25:10]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
copter808
Posts: 1383
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:39 am

The 3.5 hours was probably to complete the reams of government paperwork. Generally when a civil aircraft lands at a military airport (without permission) there are insurance and hold harmless paperwork that have to be completed.

Believe me, I've seen the circus of paperwork when some hapless pilot landed at a closed naval air station!
 
GulfstreamGuy
Posts: 624
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 1999 6:30 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:40 am

If anyone wanted to know.. it was flight 1152 and it was flown with aircraft N347NB..


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my two cents,
GulfstreamGuy
"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane. " -Jimmy Buffett
 
Theiler
Posts: 576
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 8:39 am

RE:

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:47 am

A correction to my last... I meant Rapid City tower, not Grand Forks.
Right idea, wrong Air Force Base / civillian airport combination.
 
md80fanatic
Posts: 2365
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 12:02 pm

The passengers could have unloaded their own baggage, then walked to the nearest McDonalds to have some lunch. After that they could walk to the nearest theater and catch a movie....then finally walk to RAP .... all in about the same time.

Out of courtesy, why couldn't our military get some freakin' busses in there to transport the passengers to their destination? Oh wait.....that's top secret! Another reason out of many that the military of civilan arms of the US guvment needs a complete overhaul, this is just out-of-control. Power corrupts.
 
jcarv
Posts: 313
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 12:03 pm

Goes to show you that the big boys can make mistakes too. Not just the commuter pilots!
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
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RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 12:39 pm

>>>Another reason out of many that the military of civilan arms of the US guvment needs a complete overhaul, this is just out-of-control. Power corrupts.

What on earth are you talking about?

(On second thought, never mind...)  Insane
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
HB-IWC
Posts: 4033
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2000 1:09 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 2:04 pm

Is it me or does this always seem to happen to NW? Remember that DC10 that landed in Brussels instead of Frankfurt a couple of years back? I never knew the exact story about that one, but it was NW as well.

 
nwa330tony
Posts: 108
Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 8:34 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 4:45 pm

Sad to see i love NWA dearly but there is no excuse for this, in a dc-9 ok maybe but in an A319 if you have even the slightest doubt kick on the autopilot and let the comp take it. dumb error which could have been avoided, alot of passengers that didnt have to go through this. Im sorry but with the technology in these new Airbus and Boeng flightdecks these things should not be happening.
Just my .02$
 
747spa330md11
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 8:14 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:29 pm

Back in the 70th a Spantax plane landed on Hamburg Finkenwerder, which is around 10 km away from Hamburg Fuhlsbüttel (HAM, EDDH). Due to the short runway the plane had to be emptied totally and with a lowest amount of fuel and no passenger it took off bound for Fuhlsbüttel some days later. Finkenwerder (XFW, EDHI) is today the Airbus plant and had at that time a much shorter runway
Save the 747 SP !!
 
geg2rap
Posts: 721
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:02 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:55 pm

NWA has a crew resting in rapid city overnight that takes out the return flight of 1152 (flight 1210 they fly in the last flight of the night before then take out the 105 flight) it took them that long to get the pilots on the base and get flight clearance to get out of there.
NWA did pay for buses to get the to the real airport...the real pain was for passengers going out on 1210...4 hr delay for most of them since RAP is booked almost completely that day.
The wierd part also is it took 27 mins to get from rca-rap
All passengers aboard did get a free domestic ticket....here is the link for the local paper
http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2004/06/21/news/local/top/news01.txt
 
md80fanatic
Posts: 2365
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 11:29 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:16 pm

Before I am ejected from this forum permanently, I'd like to say something no one has apparently thought of. With this Airbus on NORAD's radar screen, the Ellsworth tower's screen, the regional's screen and the center's screens, why didn't someone notice this plane descending to an obvious landing at Ellsworth? Especially the first alert, early warning Strategic Air Command base....why didn't someone, anyone radio this plane and remind him that he is not authorised to land there? Or wasn't any of our recently embarassed military air controllers paying attention when this happened? How many more screw ups are we to endure before something is done?

What if that plane had been under the control of hijackers with a suitcase tactical nuke? We'd have been in big 9-11 style trouble once again. There is no excuse for delaying the public for hours on end and there is no excuse for their apparent lack of interest is watching for rogue aircraft approaching their base, period.
 
garnetpalmetto
Posts: 5351
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:38 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:53 pm

Have no fear, MD80, some heads in the tower will roll as well. Methinks some radar operator just "volunteered" for a free trip to the Aleutians. I'd be interested to read the full report once it comes out on how it all happened...
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
BillElliott9
Posts: 237
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2003 8:10 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:14 pm

Strategic Air Command (SAC) hasn't deen around since the early 90s. Ellsworth is an Air Combat Command (ACC) Base. I'm surprised MD80fanatic does not know this fact since he seems to know everything else about military operations.

BE9
You can fight without ever winning but never really win without a fight.
 
Boeing757/767
Posts: 2179
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 1999 11:05 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:51 pm

I agree with MD80fanatic. I put the blame on the Air Force on this one. In this day and age, they could not tell that an unauthorized aircraft was on final approach?
Free-thinking, left-leaning secularist
 
garnetpalmetto
Posts: 5351
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:38 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:54 pm

And here's the answer to yet another of his questions.

With this Airbus on NORAD's radar screen, the Ellsworth tower's screen, the regional's screen and the center's screens, why didn't someone notice this plane descending to an obvious landing at Ellsworth? Especially the first alert, early warning Strategic Air Command base....why didn't someone, anyone radio this plane and remind him that he is not authorised to land there? Or wasn't any of our recently embarassed military air controllers paying attention when this happened?

Well, according to CNN's story on it

Ellsworth controls all air space 40 miles around the base and clears landings at both the civilian airport and the base.

So Ellsworth's tower wasn't oblivious to the presence of NW 1152 and would have cleared them to land at Rapid City.

P.S., the Lancer is primarily a conventional weapons carrier, not a nuclear carrier. B-1s haven't carried nuclear bombs since '97.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
squirrel83
Posts: 1219
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 12:28 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Mon Jun 21, 2004 11:55 pm

The funny thing is, the passengers probably looked out their windows, saw this scene

Three hours sitting there doing nothing while the pilot and crew were questioned; man I would want to look out the windows.

After they landed they were told to close the windows. I Just thought this was intersting.
A346, 7E7, 747, 777, Sonic Cruiser
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:11 am

>>>Strategic Air Command (SAC) hasn't deen around since the early 90s

You have to wonder if Jimmy Stewart isn't rolling over in his grave about that.. ( I -know- General Lemay is...)  Big grin
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
JGPH1A
Posts: 15080
Joined: Thu Aug 14, 2003 4:36 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:23 am

Completely off topic but regarding the pic of those B1B's - I WANT ONE !!! Such a beautiful aircraft plus can go warp factor 17 while skimming the treetops - I WANNTTTT ONNEEEE !!!
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
slider
Posts: 6812
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:50 am

I have to tell you, we're all human and will make mistakes. This much is understood.

But regardless of the relative proximity between RAP and RCA, as well as rwy orientation, it is my opinion that it's inconceivable to confuse the two---especially considering that one has a runway the size of the freaking Grand Canyon....not exactly RAP-like.

Hell, I could land a 172 practically sideways on that sucker!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

MD80- As far as your statement about the military getting busses for the pax, that's not their responsibility. It's a NW flight, a NW screwup, and their responsibility to reprotect and serve the customers, not the USAF. Had they done so, I can only guess that you'd probably be complaining about the waste of "taxpayer funds" to help NW. Go figure.

You make a salient point about the perceived lack of urgency to intercept this aircraft, however. I'd like to hope there's a legitimate reason as to why they didn't...we can only speculate in the absence of facts.

One thing is clear though--that's a career-altering landing that flight crew made. Yikes.
 
geg2rap
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:02 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:09 am

Also there are offically no nukes at ellsworth anymore...at least on the record...not since mid 90's
AND COME ON GUYS it was a busy time for RAP control tower you know NW airbus coming in at 1220 skywest at 1222 and there was a Mesa dash in at 1225.....and a zk departing at 1210...this is busy times for rap...
Ellsworth does control 40 miles around RCA...this is a good thing with runways so close and so directionally close I have been delayed in NW planes before waiting for B-1B's to finish touch and go's...the pilots should have noticed though lining up at ~ 320 and being cleared on runway 34 should have made them wonder
 
JBLUA320
Posts: 2997
Joined: Mon May 27, 2002 8:51 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:10 am

Whats the point in making the passengers close their windows? Is there something there that they really can not see?

JBLU
 
garnetpalmetto
Posts: 5351
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:38 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:10 am


You make a salient point about the perceived lack of urgency to intercept this aircraft, however. I'd like to hope there's a legitimate reason as to why they didn't...we can only speculate in the absence of facts.


And like I said, Ellsworth also controls approach to Rapid City and the airspace in a 40 mile radius. As for an intercept, closest base that could have done an intercept would have been the Happy Hooligans out of Fargo.
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
geg2rap
Posts: 721
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:02 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:16 am

FSD has some national guard jets...also I think CYS does correct me if I am wrong...used to be patrol around RAP with the threats on Mt Rushmore...
 
garnetpalmetto
Posts: 5351
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:38 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:29 am

My bad, Geg - Sioux Falls does have the 175th Fighter Squadron based out of it flying F-16Cs. Cheyenne, however does not. The 187th AS at Cheyenne flies C-130s
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.
 
toltommy
Posts: 2497
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:04 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:34 am

"Whats the point in making the passengers close their windows? Is there something there that they really can not see?"

If we told you, we'd have to kill you....  Big grin
 
redngold
Posts: 6673
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2000 12:26 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:37 am

In the past I have always thought about the passengers on board and how they have been inconvenienced by a wrong-airport landing.

This one, however, makes me wonder about the people at the Rapid City airport, waiting for the inbound flight.

What would you think if you heard the flight was on schedule, and you were waiting and waiting, and maybe you even had a scanner and knew the flight was within range, but it just didn't arrive? That would really freak me out. I'd be worried about a crash or a hijacking or something else terrible having happened, when in reality the plane is safe and sound -- just in the wrong place.


Just my 0.02,
redngold
Up, up and away!
 
Vorticity
Posts: 324
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 9:09 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:46 am

Though probably they couldn't have seen anything interesting from their windows, it's just a matter of policy. I took a picture without thinking on Boeing's military property at Boeing Field once, nothing you couldn't see from behind the fence, but I got snapped at all the same.
Thermodynamics and english units don't mix...
 
Guest

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 3:56 am

Delta does this too...

Don't
Ever
Land
There
Again
 
geg2rap
Posts: 721
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:02 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 4:04 am

Vorticity
I emailed a high achieving fraternity brother of mine who works the ramp at RAP for NWA/ZK...hope he was working that day to find out
Jeremy
 
Grude1087
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 3:08 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 4:42 am

(The 3.5 hours was probably to complete the reams of government paperwork. Generally when a civil aircraft lands at a military airport (without permission) there are insurance and hold harmless paperwork that have to be completed.)

I was on a UA flight from SFO-NRT which had to make a fuel stop at CTS. Since there was only two bilingual FA's on board, and CTS bilingual ground crew had all left for the day, they were downstairs dealing with the paperwork. Meanwhile, I was asked into the cockpit to translate between the captain and the fuel teams. Since UA doesn't fly into CTS, there were volumes of paperwork, and we didn't leave to NRT for about 2 hours.
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 8:09 am

Geg2rap,

Hear from your buddy at RAP
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
itsjustme
Posts: 2727
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2004 6:58 pm

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 8:14 am

Just to add some more controversy to this thread I'd like to pose a couple of questions. Who gave the order to the pax not to raise their window shades and was it a legal order? What would the consequences have been if a pax did raise a window shade and refuse to lower it? Are pax still legally bound to follow the orders of the uniformed flight crew even though the plane has successfully landed? Or would the pax who violated this "order" be at the beck and call of the military police? Do MP's have any jurisdiction on civilian aircraft?
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: NW Lands At Ellsworth

Tue Jun 22, 2004 8:18 am

>>>Do MP's have any jurisdiction on civilian aircraft?

If that civilian aircraft is siting on their military airport, I'd guess they do...
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.

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