An Enormous Boeing 747 Landed At The Wrong Airport, And Now Taking Off Again Is Going To Be Tricky

21/11/2013 - 16:08
Business Insider
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A Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, one of the largest cargo planes in the world, mistakenly landed at a tiny Kansas Airport last night.
Now will have to take off from a runway that's significantly shorter than what is usually deemed safe for the huge jet, which is carrying parts for the 787 Dreamliner.

Its intended destination was McConnell Air Force Base, about 8 miles away, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It's unclear how the two pilots made the mistake, but their conversation with air traffic control at McConnell shows they were not aware of where they were. Here's part of the transcript, via WHCH of Kansas:

McConnell: Giant 4241 Heavy, roger, you, uh, it appears that you are at Jabara.

Dreamlifter: Uh, say again?

M: Giant 4241 Heavy, we saw the plane on the radar, and it appears that you are at Jabara Airport.

D: Say the name of it again?

M: Jabara.

D: Jabaro?

M: Giant 4241 Heavy, that's J-A-B-A-R-R-A.

The plane is scheduled to take off around noon today. It will be interesting to watch, as the Dreamlifter needs a runway nearly 10,000 feet long at its maximum takeoff weight. According to Jon Ostrower at the Wall St Journal, the Dreamlifter is quite fully loaded:

The runway at Jabara is 6,100 feet long, and Boeing says it can safely take off. Once in the air, it will fly to McConnell, and unload there.

Here's a map of the runway at McConnell Air Force Base, where the Dreamlifter usually takes off, compared to the size of the runway at Jabara, where it will take off today:

dreamlifter runway map compare

This Dreamlifter is one of four 747 planes Boeing has retrofitted to carry airplane parts between its suppliers and assembly sites around the world. The jet is 70 feet high, has a wing span of 211.5 feet, and is 235 feet long. It can haul over 800,000 pounds. It hinges open near the tail:

boeing dreamlifter open

 Boeing's rival airbus uses a similarly large plane to transport big cargo, called the Beluga:

airbus beluga transport plane

SEE ALSO: Crazy Crowding At Airports The Day Before Thanksgiving Could Soon Be The New Normal

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