Traffic jams, road closures, car accidents, and shocked spectators. A large Boeing cargo jet was the center of a bizarre scene on Wednesday when it accidentally landed at a small airport on Kansas.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Dreamlifter, which took off from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, was bound for McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas but instead landed at the Colonel James Jabara Airport, a city-run airport too small to handle the 72-meter Atlas Air 747.
“Whoa,” Wichita city officials said on Thursday in a statement posted on the city’s official Facebook page. “The plane is too large for the runway and will need help departing.”
The Dreamlifter can carry up to 800,000 pounds on takeoff, a much heavier load than the small business planes that usually land at Jabara can carry. In fact, the Jabara runway is about 3,000 feet short of what planes of that weight and size typically use to take off.
However, on Thursday, after a 16-hour layover, the large aircraft lifted its wheels and took off about 1:15 p.m. CST (2:15 p.m. EST) to the sound of applause from spectators and officials.
“I think it’s hysterical. I couldn’t stop laughing,” said Kevin Schwerdtfeger, a commercial pilot in town for training. “I’ve heard of this before, but it’s fairly rare.”
“I’m sorry for the pilots that landed there by mistake because their careers are in jeopardy,” another pilot, Steve McNulty, said.
The 747 landed safely at McConnell, 9 miles away, twenty minutes later.
No damage was done to the plane or to the airport.
Boeing is still looking into how the incident happened.
image via: Wikimedia Commons