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B-747 Dreamlifter Makes A Clean Takeoff After Landing At The Wrong Airport
By Eddy Metcalf

November 21, 2013 - This afternoon a Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter was able to make a safe takeoff after landing at the wrong airport. On Wednesday night Flight 4241 which is one of a fleet of four and operated by Atlas Air was suppose to land at McConnell Air Force Base instead the 747 landed at Colonel James Jabara Airport (KAAO) at 9:20 PM CST. 

The Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter which is a modified aircraft and is used exclusively to transport Boeing’s 787 aircraft parts to its assembly plants from suppliers around the world departed John F Kennedy International Airport at 7:26 PM for McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas.

At about 9 PM, Flight 4241 on its final approach for McConnell Air Force Base was cleared to land on runway 19. As the pilots approached the airport they had mistaken Colonel James Jabara Airport for McConnell Air Force Base. Both airports which are about 10 miles apart from each other have almost the same runway alignments. On the final approach path Flight 4241 landed on runway 18 at Colonel James Jabara Airport.
Upon landing the pilots on Flight 4241 could be herd on the radio with ATC requesting information on the landing. It appears the pilot was confused.  

This was clearly an unsafe landing for 747. Had there been landing or departing aircraft at Colonel James Jabara Airport at the time it could have been disastrous. In addition the Boeing 747-400 Dreamlifter requires a runway of 7,000 feet to land at maximum landing weight but the runway at Colonel James Jabara Airport was only 6,101 feet long.

Flight 4241 sat on the runway Wednesday night while Boeing could come up with the right calculations for takeoff, as the Boeing 747-400 requires a minimum of 9,199 foot runway for takeoff at maximum takeoff weight. On Thursday Boeing was able to come up with the calculations needed. Fuel was drained from the tanks and at 1:16 PM Flight 4241 departed Colonel James Jabara Airport safely and landed at McConnell Air Force Base at 1:35 PM.   



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