Giant Dreamlifter stranded after landing at wrong airport

2013-11-22 08:48
Wichita - A Boeing 747 jumbo jet mistakenly landed at a small Kansas airport not far from the Air Force base where it was supposed to land to deliver parts for the company's famed new 787 Dreamliner.

The 747 landed Wednesday evening at Col. James Jabara Airport, about 13 kilometers north of its intended target, the McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita. Jabara's runway is just 1 860 meters long, much shorter than is ideal for an aircraft of that size.

It was not immediately clear what lead to the mix up.

Roger Xanders, chief of the Wichita Airport Authority's police and fire department, told KMBC-TV that nonetheless the plane should be able to take off around noon Thursday. The plane, operated by Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, has been turned around by a tug to prepare for departure, said Brad Christopher of the Wichita Airport Authority.

"We've been in contact with Atlas company headquarters in New York. They've assured us they've run all the engineering calculation and performance and the aircraft is very safe for a normal departure at its current weight and conditions here," Christopher said.

Atlas Air spokeswoman Bonnie Rodney did not immediately return early Thursday calls and an email from The Associated Press seeking comment. Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said he could not immediately provide any information on how or why the jumbo jet landed at Jabara.

The two-person crew was not injured and the airplane and airport property were not damaged, Christopher said.

The modified 747, one of a fleet of four that hauls parts around the world for the production of the Dreamliner, was bound for McConnell because it is adjacent to Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, Birtel said. Spirit makes the forward section or nose area of the Dreamliner's fuselage.

These jets, which the company refers to as Dreamlifters, are crucial to the Dreamliner's construction. Boeing is using a global network of suppliers to develop and build most of the new plane's parts in locations as far away as Germany, Japan and Sweden. Boeing says the Dreamlifter cuts delivery time down to one day from as many as 30 days.

The final aircraft is assembled at plants outside Seattle and in North Charleston, South Carolina.

It is not the first incident of a large aircraft landing at an airport ill equipped to accommodate a plane of that size.

In July last year, a cargo plane bound for MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, Florida, landed without incident at the small Peter O. Knight Airport nearby. An investigation blamed confusion identifying airports in the area and base officials introduced an updated landing procedure to mitigate future problems.

- Sapa-AP

Read more on:    flights  |  airport  |  air travel  |  travel  |  travel international

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.