A massive cargo plane that landed at the wrong Wichita, Kan., airport and was temporarily stuck on the runway took off on Thursday and landed safely at the right one.
On Wednesday, Atlas Air Flight 4241 — a Boeing 747 LCF Dreamlifter bound for McConnell Air Force Base — took off from John F. Kennedy International Airport at 7:26 p.m. and was cleared to land at McConnell. Instead it landed at the much smaller Jabara Airport about 10 miles north.
Audio communication between the Dreamlifter and McConnell's tower controller suggests the pilots did not realize they were at the wrong airport until after they landed.
"Ahh — yes, sir, we just landed at the other airport," one pilot informed McConnell.
No one was hurt and no property was damaged, according to the city of Wichita. The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating.
— Caleb Carey (@ccarey206) November 21, 2013
In a statement, Boeing confirmed the plane landed safely but offered no further details.
"A Dreamlifter bound for McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita safely landed this evening at nearby Col. James Jabara Airport instead," Boeing said. "We are working to determine next steps."
The plane — a giant, modified 747 that can hold about 65,000 cubic feet of cargo — then sat for hours at Jabara, which has no control tower and normally doesn't handle jumbo jets, according to CNN.
A tug that was sent with a police escort to turn the jumbo jet around broke down en route, KWCH-TV reported.
— KWCH Eyewitness News (@KWCH12) November 21, 2013
According to CNN, airport officials were concerned the runway at Jabara was too short for the giant plane to get off the ground. When fully loaded, the Dreamlifter needs a runway 9,199 feet long to take off, CNN said. The Jabara runway is 6,101 feet.
According to FlightAware.com, the Dreamlifter finally left Jabara at 1:16 p.m. local time, arriving safely at McConnell Air Force Base 19 minutes later.