[Updated] Boeing 747 Dreamlifter lands at the wrong airport. And takes off in spite of the short runway

Updated Nov. 21, 2013 08.30 GMT

An Atlas Air Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, a modified “Jumbo” that is used to transport cargo across the world, landed at the wrong airport in Wichita, Kansas.

The huge aircraft was flying from New York’s JFK airport to McConnell Air Force Base, but it landed at Jabara airport, about 12 miles away its planned destination.


What is even more embarrassing, the aircraft might be unable to take off again from there, because the runway is too short: about 6,100 feet instead of about 9,000 feet. Still, according to the latest news, provided the weather is favorable and the aircraft has burnt enough fuel from JFK to Jabara, a crew will attempt to move the plane to McConnel AFB by air…

ATC comms prove the pilots initially thought they had landed at the right airport.

It’s not the first time such a mishap occurs: in July 2012, a U.S. Air Force C-17 landed at the wrong airport at Tampa, Florida. But it was able to take off from there.

Update: the aircraft successfully departed from Jabara’s short runway without any problem. See video below.

Image credit: Joseph Graybill

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.