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SA7700
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WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:43 am

As part 1 has been archived due to its length, part 2 is now open for discussion. Part 1 can be accessed here:

WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 1) (by Stackhouse007 Jan 12 2014 in Civil Aviation)


Regards,

SA7700
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
 
prosa
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:01 am

It could have been a catastrophic mistake, but everything worked out okay. I really hope the pilots don't get re-engineered. Give them another chance.
"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
 
KirkSeattle
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:24 am

Someone in the last thread was asking about the TACA 737-300 that landed on the levy in New Orleans. Here's the link on youtube, probably at the 30 minute mark regarding getting the plane out of there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnX1u5vp1J4

Cheers,
KirkSeattle
 
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Acey
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:31 am

I don't know enough about how any airline's specific SOP plays into this, but I'd like to think this crew should be reinstated if it was determined that they followed SOP (and weren't high, drunk, et al.). If they followed company procedures and this is still allowed to happen, then they should go after WN and get them to tighten up... before people die.

I'd also like to think that the problem that caused this failing is applicable to more operators than just WN.
If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
hmmmm...
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:38 am

I hope the pilots do get fired. There must be some way of weeding out the poor ones in every profession. And yes, if you land at the wrong airport, you have proven you don't have the attention to detail required by the job. Some screws ups must be big enough to call into question the competency of the person and therefore warrant termination. If we can't weed out pilots for this massive mistake, then how much more grievous does it have to be? Do we need to kill passengers before we fire pilots? Is that how it works? Do pilots always have to be buried with their mistakes? And the passengers with them?

There is no shortage of up and coming pilots who would like a shot at the majors. Why keep these two on the payroll simply because they managed to stop the plane before it went into the ditch.

You pay good money for your ticket. You deserve a pilot who would never land at the wrong airport. Everyone who flies deserves at least that.

This is assuming the pilots were at fault. But it is impossible to come up with a scenario where they wouldn't be responsible.
An optimist robs himself of the joy of being pleasantly surprised
 
markalot
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:57 am

I don't think making a blanket statement saying they should be fired works. Lets find out why it happened first, and if it's pilot error then, yes, I think some severe action should be taken ... but is firing and/or revoking a license the answer here? Generally punishing people for human error is not very productive. The idea should be to reduce the possibility of error in the first place. IMO

The issue I have with these incidents is the apparent lack of concern because they just happen to land on a runway long enough to avoid a catastrophe. Do we have to wait until people die in order to treat the problem seriously?
M a r k
 
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TheRedBaron
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:01 am

Quoting KirkSeattle (Reply 2):
Someone in the last thread was asking about the TACA 737-300 that landed on the levy in New Orleans. Here's the link on youtube, probably at the 30 minute mark regarding getting the plane out of there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnX1u5vp1J4

Cheers,
KirkSeattle

Thanks for the link... loved that episode.

Quoting hmmmm... (Reply 4):
This is assuming the pilots were at fault. But it is impossible to come up with a scenario where they wouldn't be responsible.

Its easy to try to chop some heads up because this HUGE mistake, and as a PAX I am certainly worried about this wrong landings happening WAY too often, I will wait for the report before I want to crucify this pilots, they may be a hazardous combination of other factors that contributed to this inexcusable mistake, but seeing the have over 20 years flying, i guess they deserve a little doubt and chance to see exactly what happened.

TRB
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NBGSkyGod
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:07 am

Quoting markalot (Reply 5):
I don't think making a blanket statement saying they should be fired works. Lets find out why it happened first, and if it's pilot error then, yes, I think some severe action should be taken ... but is firing and/or revoking a license the answer here? Generally punishing people for human error is not very productive. The idea should be to reduce the possibility of error in the first place. IMO

The issue I have with these incidents is the apparent lack of concern because they just happen to land on a runway long enough to avoid a catastrophe. Do we have to wait until people die in order to treat the problem seriously?

I agree with this, there is a great "Human Factors" lesson to be learned here, same with the GTI incident at IAB. We need to learn the why of these types of incidents, and then we can begin to mitigate the chances of them happening again. This incident coupled with the GTI incident and the Asiana crash this summer shed light on the polar spectrum of flight crews and automation (the complete disregard and the complete dependance).

If the pilots have been found to be at fault for this, than maybe a degree of retraining is in order rather than job termination, but that is for the lawyers to decide, not us. All-in-all it was a bit of pilot skill and a whole hell of a lot of luck that the aluminum and rivets stayed intact, and the plane flew again.
Pilots are idiots, who at any given moment will attempt to kill themselves or others.
 
jreuschl
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:19 am

I imagine they were not given a breathalyzer test by authorities after the landing? You wonder if alcohol could be a factor.
 
deltaflyertoo
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:26 am

Question: Didn't they notice the runway lighting wasn't conducive to the type of airport they were landing at? I.E. a small airport like that wouldn't have center line runway lighting or pre approach lights for that matter either (Maybe Branson doesn't either?) but most airports serving commerical airliners do. I would think that would have been heads up to the pilots that something wasn't right.
 
71Zulu
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:35 am

Quoting mcg (Reply 250):
Was luggage off-loaded prior to departure? Would the pilots who ferried the plane from PLK fly a departure in a simulator prior to the real departure?

Yes, they brought some ground handlers from the BKG to unload the plane, then the luggage was put on buses and the pax were driven over to BKG. WN then sent another 737 from STL to pick them up and bring them to DAL. On the simulator issue, no I don't think so. They have the performance computers and would have been easy enough to look up the numbers and go from there.
 
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Acey
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:38 am

Quoting markalot (Reply 5):
if it's pilot error

I'm in the "don't fire them" camp, but I don't know how you could call this anything other than pilot error. Countless WN flights have managed to land at the correct field so unless ATC purposely misdirected them, somebody intentionally screwed with their FMC databases, or some other implausible scenario... it is pilot error.
If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
sccutler
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:44 am

No centerline lights at either airport.

The big airport has approach lighting, but that is not automatically operating in VMC, so its absence would not be remarkable to the pilots.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
MCOflyer
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:05 am

I'm with the "don't fire" them group also. I say give them some retraining and send them back on the line. Many people make mistakes and fortunately this one didn't have any fatalities. For those who are saying fire them, how would react if your job fired you for every mistake you made???
Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
 
AR385
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:15 am

Quoting hmmmm... (Reply 4):
I hope the pilots do get fired. There must be some way of weeding out the poor ones in every profession. And yes, if you land at the wrong airport, you have proven you don't have the attention to detail required by the job. Some screws ups must be big enough to call into question the competency of the person and therefore warrant termination.

I see you have access to the final NTSB report on why this happened. Can you provide a link for it?

I also assume that you think that the DL flight crew that landed a 767-300 in a taxiway in ATL should have also been fired. Do you actually know what happened to them?

Whatever you may think about the many young pilots waiting to have a shot a the majors, I doubt many of those have 14,000 and 12,000 hrs, respectively. These are the top of the crop and until a good explanation is given on how the chain of events occured to line the holes on their swiss cheese, such a comment is pretty short sighted.

[Edited 2014-01-13 21:21:51]
 
Passedv1
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:41 am

Wayfarer515 ..."Children of the magenta, got nothing more to say"

If they were truly "children of the magenta" this incident would not have happened.

Could have been reserve could have been check-airman types. Because of the publicity I would suspect Check-Airmen but truthfuly the flight out was not some feat of aviation that the media tried to make this out to be.

Somebody asked in the last thread if engine out performance even comes into play because it's a reposition-flight and the answer is yes...Part 91 (the operating rules that ALL aircraft must follow) require large aircraft to accelerate-stop and accelerate-go on a single engine.

I think people on this thread are confusing two different uses of the term "ferry flight". The layman term, seems to be any flight that doesn't involve carriage of payload. The term "ferry flight" in a regulatory sense means the aircraft is somehow unairworthy or unable to comply with the regs and a one-time special permit is received from the FAA to get the airplane back to somehwere that repairs can be made. A repositioning flight is a flight that gets a good airplane from point a to point b with no payload...but interestingly can, at least legally, can have up to 19 non-revs without flight attendants.

There is no indication to me that this was anything other than a reposition. The flight would have been a Part 91 (general aviation) flight as opposed to a Part 121 (airline) flight since this new destination is in all likelihood not on SWA's Ops Specs. But I doubt this was required to be a ferry flight.

Someone questioned why they didn't notice the difference in the lighting system...while the point about the VASI/PAPI is valid, airports routinely turn off parts of the approach light system during good visibility so it is not definete that this would have been a reliable indication to the pilots.

Somebody else asked if it were plausible that the pilots saw they were at the wrong airport and landed anyway, and the answer to that is absolutely ZERO right up until the point where the engines are unspooled. Between then and when the speedbrake comes out is iffy. Once the speedbrakes come out, I doubt any crew would attempt a touch&go at that point.
 
maxpower1954
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:50 am

For quite some time now, I request vectors to the ILS on crystal clear night approaches, unless I'm totally familiar with the area. A few months ago I had an FAA inspector on the jumpseat from CLT-BWI at night. They were running visual approaches to runway 10, I told the F/O we needed vectors to the ILS 10. I turned and looked at the fed; he was grinnin' and giving a big thumbs up!
 
AR385
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:55 am

Quoting passedv1 (Reply 15):
Between then and when the speedbrake comes out is iffy. Once the speedbrakes come out, I doubt any crew would attempt a touch&go at that point.

Speedbrakes coming out is still a go for going around. The no-no is once the thrust reverser are engaged. At that point, you are commited to staying on the ground. You may want to find a few videos with planes deploying speedbrakes briefly and then going around (or rejecting the landing) in youtube.
 
kellmark
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:02 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 14):
Quoting hmmmm... (Reply 4):
I hope the pilots do get fired. There must be some way of weeding out the poor ones in every profession. And yes, if you land at the wrong airport, you have proven you don't have the attention to detail required by the job. Some screws ups must be big enough to call into question the competency of the person and therefore warrant termination.

I see you have access to the final NTSB report on why this happened. Can you provide a link for it?

An air carrier has no obligation to wait for the NTSB report to come out on any incident or accident in order for them to be disciplined for any action they deem appropriate in a situation like this. NTSB reports can take years, and they also can have a different perspective, and not everyone agrees with them.

There obviously will be several investigations, one by the air carrier, and another by the NTSB, and also the FAA will be involved.

The pilots will be interviewed, as well as any ATC personnel involved. The data and voice recorders are pulled and reviewed. The ATC tapes and radar traces also are recovered. All of the training and operational records of the pilots including what they were doing in the last week, and the maintenance records of the aircraft and company required procedures will be reviewed.

But I have the feeling that the airline and the authorities already pretty much know what happened, although they will dig deeper for underlying issues.

But as far as discipline, if the voice and data recorders and/or other evidence shows some serious problem with the crew's actions, such as a non-sterile cockpit and not following procedures, etc., then the airline is entirely within its authority to discipline the crew, including termination if they feel it is appropriate. And the FAA can also independently sanction the crew, with their own violation action, once they investigate. They could also do an emergency revocation and pull their certificates immediately. In both cases, the pilots will have the union defending them in these actions.

Also, normally an alcohol/drug test is standard after something like this. In my old airline, we had a crew one night who had attended a wedding reception at their hotel and we were told that they had been drinking. We ordered them to be tested, and they refused the test, and they were fired immediately, as per company policy.

But I think what likely happened here is that one of the pilots said "I see the runway" and simply landed the airplane mistakenly. I will say I have come close to doing the same once. I learned a good lesson from that, which is to verify your location from at least two different sources. Not just your own eyeballs. But controllers will often ask if you have the airport in sight, and there is a tendency to respond to that, even though you may have the wrong airport, which is close to the intended one.
 
AR385
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:17 am

Quoting kellmark (Reply 18):
An air carrier has no obligation to wait for the NTSB report to come out on any incident or accident in order for them to be disciplined for any action they deem appropriate in a situation like this.

Sure, like what happened to the Captain at the LGA landing.

Quoting kellmark (Reply 18):
But as far as discipline, if the voice and data recorders

Sure. Big If. Big if. I am pretty sure that pilots with 26,000 hrs between them landing in a wrong airport is not going to be such a cut and dry situation such as hmmmm... wants to make it seem in reply 4.

It wasn´t so with that DL flight that landed in a taxiway. In their home base. In a 763. And they weren´t fired.

I find the condemnation of the crew as well as such nonchalant call for them to be fired, outrageous. Until the entire facts are known.
 
Jetfixr757
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:48 am

My questiion is, what or where were the ATC guys and the tower guys in all of this? If you see somone about to jump off of a cliff you sit back and allow it then violate them for it? Now if you warn, and they still continue, go all out...
my 2C.
Jet
 
wjcandee
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:49 am

Quoting passedv1 (Reply 15):
The flight would have been a Part 91 (general aviation) flight as opposed to a Part 121 (airline) flight

Um...for some reason I think that after the Pinnacle "Club 41" fiasco, a Part 121 carrier has to operate repositioning flights as Part 121 flights. In other words, they have to do repositioning flights under the same rules that they would operate a Part 121 flight. (Or maybe that was just the NTSB recommendation, but I seem to recall it being adopted...)

On review, I can't find that recommendation, although it was a big issue at the hearings, where the Board was just crucifying the witnesses over why different standards applied. This of course because they found the "unprofessional conduct" to be a primary cause of the accident. The recommendation may have been watered down to requiring "standards of professional conduct on repositioning flights".

[Edited 2014-01-13 22:57:44]
 
kellmark
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:51 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 19):
Sure. Big If. Big if. I am pretty sure that pilots with 26,000 hrs between them landing in a wrong airport is not going to be such a cut and dry situation such as hmmmm... wants to make it seem in reply 4.

It wasn´t so with that DL flight that landed in a taxiway. In their home base. In a 763. And they weren´t fired.


I think that we have seen that pilots with tens of thousands of hours can make serious mistakes. And there can be other contributing causes which can mitigate to some degree what they have done. In the DL case in ATL the crew was dealing with a medical emergency with a fellow pilot and there were runway/airport lighting issues while landing in the early morning..

But we have also seen where pilots have done some really dumb things even when they have tens of thousands of hours.

With the WN crew, it depends on what the evidence shows. But I think that this crew has a lot of "splainin" to do.
 
Jetfixr757
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:52 am

Quoting AR385 (Reply 17):

If you come off idle with the speed brakes out, the autothrottle and the FCC stows the speed brakes because the logic is, if you come off idle AFTER deployment you are taking off!!
Jet
 
skywaymanaz
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:12 am

I'd need way more information before saying whether I'd fire them or not. If that was my call to make I'd lean on the side off waiting for the chain of events to become clear first. Anyone remember the Continental wrong airport landing in Corpus Christi in the 90's? It seemed like such a stupid mistake at the time but years later when I read the report on it I kind of had an "oh crap" moment in my head realizing how that could happen to me. All the comments in part one about why they didn't have the approach at Branson loaded well the Continental crew had the Corpus approach loaded and it led them to the wrong airport. CRP uses the same localizer frequency for ILS 13 and LOC 31 approaches. ATC has to manually select which one to activate. It was partly cloudy so the localizer was being used to guide in traffic. ATC selected 13 for a bizjet arrival then neglected to put it back to 31 for the Continental crew cleared to the approach. I still blame the CO crew more than ATC because pilots should have ID'd the morse. Their charts would say LOC 31 is 110.3 I-EKI so they tuned in 110.3 but never noticed the morse was chiming I-CRP. With the wrong localizer in use the fly left/fly right indication was backward, normal in a Back Course approach but this wasn't a BC approach. If they had a fly left indication they probably corrected to the left, broke out of the clouds, airport right in front of them with 31 on the runway just like it is supposed to be. Only it wasn't CRP it was Cabaniss NOLF or NGW.

If I remember correctly the crew was retrained and continued on with them. Maybe someone from CO or UA knows for sure. There was an extenuating circumstance with the ATC error and I believe the Captain was training the F/O on the then new 737-500. Now clearly this kind of error is not what happened in Branson and whatever did I suspect the crew is still going to get most of the blame. That doesn't mean I'd be prepared to throw away their experience. If there's a severe CRM break down at play here like at LGA ("We don't do go arounds at LaGuardia.") then dismissal might be called for.
 
AR385
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:21 am

Quoting kellmark (Reply 22):
And there can be other contributing causes which can mitigate to some degree what they have done. In the DL case in ATL the crew was dealing with a medical emergency with a fellow pilot and there were runway/airport lighting issues while landing in the early morning..

And how did we find that out? It wasn´t after 3 days of the incident happening wherever everyone was asking "how could they have made such a mistake????"

Quoting jetfixr757 (Reply 23):
If you come off idle with the speed brakes out, the autothrottle and the FCC stows the speed brakes because the logic is, if you come off idle AFTER deployment you are taking off!!

I don´t really understand this. If you´d care to elaborate, that would be great. I just know that as long as the thrust reversers are not engaged, a rejected landing can still be made.
 
hardalphaTi22
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:30 am

I drove down for the fly out this afternoon.

It took off with nearly half the runway to spare (probably lifted off at 2500 ft) .
They sent a truck out every 15 min about an hour before departure to shoot fireworks to scare away birds,

This is a *really* teeny teeny tiny little airport with a teeny teeny tiny little runway.

To imagine an airline pilot landing on it without a Go-Around / Abort, they *will* be fired unless there was
some unknown emergency that forced them to land.

The incompetent pilot probably coasted through professional life as many incompetent people do. Safeguards got him by. Now he got weeded out, luckily without killing his PAX.
 
dtw2hyd
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:28 pm

Now that STOL test #2 is a success, may be WN will start regular service to small airports with 738.
All posts are just opinions.
 
sccutler
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:38 pm

Quoting hardalphaTi22 (Reply 26):

The incompetent pilot probably coasted through professional life as many incompetent people do. Safeguards got him by. Now he got weeded out, luckily without killing his PAX.

That, son, is a little harsh on people whom you have never met.

There's no question a severe error has occurred. But Southwest has had its pick of the best of the very best for a long time, and they maintain training standards which are world class. Their safety record speaks volumes about how well it has worked.

Incompetent? Who knows how many substantial problems these two seasoned airmen have handled as professionals, with nothing more than an "attaboy" from the other seat.

I, for one, am a little uncomfortable with the quantity of rocks being tossed about in this particular glass house.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
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Acey
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:48 pm

Quoting hardalphaTi22 (Reply 26):
The incompetent pilot probably coasted through professional life as many incompetent people do. Safeguards got him by. Now he got weeded out, luckily without killing his PAX.

Good thing we didn't jump to conclusions, or anything....  
If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
flaps30
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:00 pm

I agree that most of the fault is on the pilots, but what about the controllers? Dont they have some liability as well. I believe they have some fault in this. Why didnt they realize that the aircraft was off course or at the wrong altitude to be landing at the intended airport. They landed about 5-7 miles away from their intended destination so they could not have been at the right altitude for Branson airport. Whenever I hear about an incident like this, everyone wants to vilify the pilots. But what about ATC's part in this as well? If they were monitoring these flights, why didnt they realize the mistake before it was about to happen? Just my 2 cents.
every day is a good day to fly
 
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longhauler
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:30 pm

The reason why these mistakes (landing at the wrong airport) keep happening, is because people think firing the pilots solves the problem ... and clearly it does not. All is does is makes sure those two pilots don't do it again!

If you really want the problem solved then find out how two well trained professionals flying for a respectible airline made that mistake ... and solve THAT problem.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:03 pm

Quoting jreuschl (Reply 8):
I imagine they were not given a breathalyzer test by authorities after the landing?

Its mandated under federal law and within a certain time perimeter. 14 CFR Part 91 Subset 17 (2) You also have the bottle to throttle rule where the FAA requires no alcohol eight hour prior to flight.

http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx...1.3.10&idno=14#14:2.0.1.3.10.1.4.9 within 4 hours after acting or attempting to act as a crew member that indicates an alcohol concentration in the blood or breath specimen.
Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
 
tp1040
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:57 pm

I agree that firing the pilots doesn't accomplish much.

Landing at the wrong airfield happens occasionally. IMHO it should never happen. What systems, culture or procedures need changing to accomplish this?
 
itsjustme
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:03 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 19):
Sure. Big If. Big if. I am pretty sure that pilots with 26,000 hrs between them landing in a wrong airport is not going to be such a cut and dry situation

The flip side to your argument is, because these pilots had so many hours of flying time, it's entirely possible they became complacent and weren't paying attention when they should have been. That lack of attention can translate to negligence on their part.
 
ouboy79
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:07 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 31):
The reason why these mistakes (landing at the wrong airport) keep happening, is because people think firing the pilots solves the problem ... and clearly it does not. All is does is makes sure those two pilots don't do it again!

If you really want the problem solved then find out how two well trained professionals flying for a respectible airline made that mistake ... and solve THAT problem.

Bingo. It is about finding the root cause on why these are even happening. Unfortunately many today expect instant results and don't want to do the dirty work of digging through things to find out why it keeps happening.
 
SXDFC
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RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:18 pm

IMHO those who insist on the pilots being fired, should really ponder the following. Lets say you're at work, and made a mistake which results in you being fired. You didn't' mean to make the mistake, however now you have to live with the ripple effect it casts on YOUR life. Although this mistake came very close to being a disaster, its a mistake that hopefully we could not only all learn from but hopefully prevent from happening again. Lets face it, the rules and regulations in this industry were designed around the mistakes made by others in the past.
 
e38
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 10:09 pm

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:46 pm

I wonder if the conversation in the cockpit might have gone something like this?

CAPTAIN, "Runway in sight."

FIRST OFFICER, "Uh, skipper, I don't think that's the correct runway."

CAPTAIN, "Son . . . do you think I just started flying yesterday?"

 

e38
 
GentFromAlaska
Posts: 2666
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 2:21 pm

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:59 pm

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 36):

I personally don't have any strong feelings one way or the other if they should be fired. Where accountability enters the equation The Captain is in charge of the airframe. I think a more appropriate punishment would be to demoted the Captain back to a First Officer and retrain him. I've flown WN many times and will continue to do so. They are my carrier of choice; when I have a choice.

I do think you are discounting a generic or simple mistake such as a weatherman making a wrong forecast or perhaps leaving a coat in a restaurant which we all make or have made at one time or another and a significant mistake which potentially puts people in harms way. Where stupidity and potential bodily injury enters the equation there needs to be zero tolerance. We hold pilots to higher standard just like we do doctors and surgeons. There not suppose to make stupid mistakes.

I read one article this morning which stated had the airframe rolled or skidded a few more feet it would have gone over a rocky cliff or steep embankment at the PLK airport. Very dangerous.

Perhaps the fix for this is to put an alarm system in the cockpit which would sound if a pilot lines up with the wrong airport.
Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
 
71Zulu
Posts: 1932
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2006 12:42 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:10 pm

Wonder if they visually spotted the airport (wrong one unfortunately) and were handed off from approach to tower, airport is dead so tower clears them to land without seeing them, pilots still fixated on first airport they saw go ahead and make the landing. If it did happen this way, tower maybe could have prevented it by telling them to report a 3 or 5 mile final instead of clearing them to land so early.
 
ROSWELL41
Posts: 777
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2001 3:50 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:13 pm

Quoting hardalphaTi22 (Reply 26):
To imagine an airline pilot landing on it without a Go-Around / Abort, they *will* be fired unless there was
some unknown emergency that forced them to land.

The incompetent pilot probably coasted through professional life as many incompetent people do. Safeguards got him by. Now he got weeded out, luckily without killing his PAX.

I agree that this is a very serious mistake that could have killed everyone on board. I agree that WN needs to examine their internal safety culture and scrutinize their SOPs. I wouldn't jump to saying the crew should be fired however. Part of a 'Safety Management System' is understanding how these things occur and looking for the why. Assuming the pilots followed WN procedure, this will take time. We, as an industry, need to learn as much as we can from these instances to prevent them from happening again.
 
737tdi
Posts: 1116
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:05 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:21 pm

I have read a lot of folks hear saying they (the crew) should have done a go around.

How can anyone here even make a comment like that? Not being on the flight deck one has no idea at what point the PF realized that he/she was landing at the wrong airport. Once the aircraft reaches DH a go around is unsafe. That little yellow light illuminates on the RadAlt, that indicates decision height. Once that illuminates a go around is no longer a safe option. If the crew realized they were at the wrong airport at 500' then a go around was reasonable. If they realized it on touchdown then the only option is to get the aircraft stopped. Once decision height has been reached a go around is not advisable in almost any instance.
 
ROSWELL41
Posts: 777
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2001 3:50 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:27 pm

Quoting 737tdi (Reply 41):
How can anyone here even make a comment like that? Not being on the flight deck one has no idea at what point the PF realized that he/she was landing at the wrong airport. Once the aircraft reaches DH a go around is unsafe. That little yellow light illuminates on the RadAlt, that indicates decision height. Once that illuminates a go around is no longer a safe option. If the crew realized they were at the wrong airport at 500' then a go around was reasonable. If they realized it on touchdown then the only option is to get the aircraft stopped. Once decision height has been reached a go around is not advisable in almost any instance.

A go around would have been possible all the way down to touch down and could have been accomplished safely. Reaching decision altitude is only the point at which the pilot must see something out the front window in order to land the plane. In fact, it may have been possible to reject the landing right after the wheels had touched the ground. Based on the crew's actions, I think they honestly believed they were landing at the correct airport or they would have gone around up to the moment they actually touched down. I'll add though, that rejecting the landing after a certain point after touchdown (probably within a second or two of wheel touchdown) could have ended in disaster.
 
D L X
Posts: 12722
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:28 pm

Quoting 737tdi (Reply 41):
Once the aircraft reaches DH a go around is unsafe. That little yellow light illuminates on the RadAlt, that indicates decision height. Once that illuminates a go around is no longer a safe option

That is very different from almost all the other things I have heard.

Pilots on here, when is it no longer safe to do a go-around? Is it decision height, or is it thrust reverser deployment?
 
Antidote
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 5:15 pm

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:29 pm

A few days after BOAC put a Comet 4 into Toronto Downsview instead of International, I remember an airline pilot friend of my dad's commenting on newspaper criticism of the pilot by other pilots. He said "they can say what they like but what they're really thinking is 'thank God it wasn't me'."
 
dtw2hyd
Posts: 9075
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:11 pm

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:37 pm

There are reports about a third person in the cockpit when it landed.
All posts are just opinions.
 
ROSWELL41
Posts: 777
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2001 3:50 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:40 pm

Quoting DTW2HYD (Reply 45):
There are reports about a third person in the cockpit when it landed.

I've read on another message board that it may have been a WN dispatcher. Hopefully, the presence of the dispatcher did not serve as a distraction to the crew. Most likely, the jumpseater won't be a factor at all.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 10469
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:54 pm

Quoting 737tdi (Reply 41):
Once the aircraft reaches DH a go around is unsafe. That little yellow light illuminates on the RadAlt, that indicates decision height. Once that illuminates a go around is no longer a safe option.

That's actually not correct. Decision Height is the point at which you must have (a) required visibility to land and (b) one of ten specific items in sight (runway lights before the threshhold and/or 9 other items at or beyond the threshhold). Most SOPs call for the PF to declare at DH whether it is his intent to land (because he meets the requirements above) or to go around.

It is a statement of intent. The pilot is always free to subsequently determine, for a wide variety of reasons, to discontinue the approach and pilots are trained to be not mentally locked into landing and to always consider a go-around as a possibility right up until reverse thrust is selected.

The point of DH is not to PRECLUDE initiating a go-around BELOW the DH. Rather, it is to MANDATE a go-around at that height if the required horizontal visibility and one of ten specific runway features is not in sight. In other words, it precludes going below the decision height if sufficient visibility has not been established by that point.

[Edited 2014-01-14 12:59:56]
 
Passedv1
Posts: 668
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:40 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:55 pm

Quoting AR385 (Reply 17):
Speedbrakes coming out is still a go for going around.

I'm saying you land, you realize you are on a much shorter runway than anticipated...no way a crew decides to go at that point. The spoilers are out, the airplane is rapidly decelerating, the ground logic has switched so now the engines are rapidly approaching ground idle. Even if you firewall the throtles at this point, you are 4-5 seconds away from getting about 50% power and 6-8 seconds away from anything close to 100%.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 31):
The reason why these mistakes (landing at the wrong airport) keep happening, is because people think firing the pilots solves the problem ... and clearly it does not. All is does is makes sure those two pilots don't do it again!

If you really want the problem solved then find out how two well trained professionals flying for a respectible airline made that mistake ... and solve THAT problem.

I agree 110%, I think the pilots should be held accountable, but firing the pilots gives the illussion that the problem is solved because those two "bad apples" are gone and problems no longer need to be addressed. I think a substantial suspension is in general, much more effective then a firing in these situations that are mistakes, not deliberate wrecklessness. (i.e. ghostrider requesting fly-by...negative, ghostrider, the pattern is full.)

Quoting flaps30 (Reply 30):
But what about ATC's part in this as well?

I think ATC has only a secondary responsibility here. Their primary job is making sure the runway is clear and there airspace is clear. That airport looks like it's on a reasonable left base to the intended airport. The tower controller can't watch every airplane from frequency change to touchdown. That is not/should not be there job. This is the difference between an A and a C job. Yea, maybe the controller should have could have said something, but that still gives him a 'C' in this. If he had saved the day, we would have given him an 'A'. This controller did not see what was happening in time, I don't think for a second that any controller would sit back and say nothing in todays culture.
 
User avatar
SuseJ772
Posts: 1053
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:13 am

RE: WN Lands At Wrong Airport (Part 2)

Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:05 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 12):
No centerline lights at either airport.

The big airport has approach lighting, but that is not automatically operating in VMC, so its absence would not be remarkable to the pilots.

Exactly. This is what I was saying in the previous post and got flamed for by type-rated. At night, with similar lighting, and an unfamiliar area, it is not always the easiest thing to tell an airport apart from another airport. Especially once in one's mind they have decided that is their airport.

Quoting sccutler (Reply 28):
That, son, is a little harsh on people whom you have never met.

Agreed.
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