Video: C-17 Globemaster III tactical airlifter lands at the wrong airport in Florida

On Jul. 20, a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III belonging to the 305th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, mistakenly landed at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa, Florida.

The plane, with actual destination MacDill Air Force Base, was arriving from southwest Asia with 23 passengers and 19 crew members when it performed the unscheduled landing (for reasons under investigation) on the small airfield on Davis Island, whose runway is 3,580 feet long and 100 feet wide, aligned in the same direction as MacDill’s runway (that is 11,421 feet long and 151 feet wide).

Fortunately, the aircraft, thanks to its Short Landing capabilities, came to a stop about 10 feet from the end of the runway but the Peter O. Knight Airport had to be temporarily closed while the Air Force decided how to move the plane.

An unloaded C-17 can take off from a runway 3,000 long and 90 feet wide (depending upon its fuel load and weather conditions).

H/T to Alert5 for the link to the video

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Yeah, umm, Iooking at google maps I don’t think there is any way I could confuse the one airport with the other.

  2. I hope the Air Force is taking a hard look at what is going on with the C-17 community. Since 2005, there has been: 1) A crash during an airshow practice that is frighteningly similar to the 1994 Fairchild B-52 crash where the pilot showed an appalling disregard for basic airmanship, 2) a runway overrun in FOB Shank where the aircrew completely disregarded the stopping distance of the aircraft, resulting in $69 million in damage, 3) two gear-up landings that were pilot error, 4) a C-17 landed 1000 feet short of the runway at Bagram resulting in extensive damage to the airframe and landing gear, cause was pilot error, 5) an aircrew restarted engines after shutdown without following tech order guidance, resulting in ignition of fuel in the tailpipes and fire damage on all 4 engines, damage was sufficient to be a Class A mishap.

    The C-5 community isn’t having mishaps like this. AMC really needs to shake some trees here.

    • Bill G. and readers,

      The AF pilots have been doing outstanding with extended hours of flight time in support of their brothers and sister in uniform since the start of the war on terrorism. The pilots and flight crews are dedicated citizens in uniform that bring the fight to the enemy away from our homeland. Furthermore these Americans are human in every aspect of emotions with constant drive to make the right approach to their train abilities under multiple conditions and airfields across the globe. I am positive that the pilots and air crew will take, accept and be accounted for their error in landing in the wrong airfield with ultimate self-assessment of how dangerous a mistake. As a veteran of four deployments and many combat flight mission piloted by them I will say we have the BEST in the world and they know and accept responsibility with risk assessment and will adjust into training requirements. They know the dangers they put personnel, aircraft, and equipment on the ground. I do give ultimate credit to the pilots for rapid adjustments and short landing procedures to bring it to a safe landing and avoiding a major mishap.

Comments are closed.