The U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III belonging to the 305th Air Mobility Wing that mistakenly landed at Tampa’s Peter O. Knight Airport in, Florida at the end of a ferry flight from southwest Asia, departed from the small regional airport just before sunset on Jul. 20.
The aircraft had to burn several hours of fuel to lighten the plane and be able to safely depart from 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).
Although one might believe that this kind of incident is impossible with the avionics of most modern planes, human errors are always possible, and pilots continue to end up landing on runways or taxiways on the wrong airports.
It would be interesting to know whther the plane was performing a visual approach or simply ignored the ILS (Instrumental Landing System) indications and/or ATC radar vectors….
- Parade of Pachyderms: mass launch of 12 large cargo planes (theaviationist.com)
- Photo: C-17 (made barely visible in the darkness by the rotary beacons) is readied for departure in Afghanistan (theaviationist.com)
- Mass mobility exercise with nearly 70 cargo planes at Nellis Air Force Base (theaviationist.com)
Why not offload some of the fuel instead of burning it off and wasting it?
The airport did not have the capability to defuel JP-8. They could have driven a R-11 tanker from MacDill, but that would have been a lot of effort for what amounts to very littel fuel. Defueling an aircraft is a PITA, you have to have a truck ready to accept the fuel, you have to remove the truck from service, and there is a procedure to go through before you can use it again. Even if you got 6,000 gallons back, your looking at somewhere around $3.65 a gallon, so your looking at just north of $20,000. All said and done when your dealing with close to a million gallons a week, there is little incentive to save 6,000 gallons (if there was even that much to be saved). Just a wild guess, but since they dont like to haul extra fuel, im guessing there was much less than 6,000 gallons to burn off. But im not sure how much fuel the C-17 consumes at idle, but im sure it isnt that much.
There’s a takeoff where the pilot is praying that he doesn’t have to RTO.
Bird’s eye view of the takeoff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HILFkFKtV9o&feature=related