Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Plane lands at wrong airport and can't leave

  1. Nov 21, 2013 #1
    A massive cargo plane landed at the wrong airport and now can't leave because the runway is too short. The airport doesn't even have a control tower. What's the solution?

    http://news.yahoo.com/dreamlifter-cargo-plane-wrong-airport-wichita-135024064.html [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2013 #2

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I've wondered about this scenario before. It can't possibly be the first time this has happened, but the solution would have to be very situation-dependent.
     
  4. Nov 21, 2013 #3

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Offload the cargo and takeoff with a nearly empty fuel tank.

    Or, more fun: JATO!
     
  5. Nov 21, 2013 #4

    jedishrfu

    Staff: Mentor

    Sounds like the classic crossing the river problem with a boat, cat, wolf, goat and cabbage.

    http://www.mathcats.com/explore/river/crossing.html

    Will probably need a dreamliner engineer to say how they can get enough lift on a short runway. Maybe they'll need to unload some cargo or all cargo and truck it to the original airport and maybe even some fuel. With a lighter plane maybe they can takeoff with a shorter runway.

    They could also always build a longer runway or make the plane into a museum.
     
  6. Nov 21, 2013 #5

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Even more fun: SSATO (Sling Shot Assisted Take Off) :biggrin:!
     
  7. Nov 21, 2013 #6
    bold mine

    Not just the plane, but the whole airport, unless they build a new runway.

    Jet assisted take off?
     
  8. Nov 21, 2013 #7

    Borek

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It must have already left, it is not visible on Google Earth.
     
  9. Nov 21, 2013 #8

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  10. Nov 21, 2013 #9

    SteamKing

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Are you certain that Google Earth provides real-time imagery?
     
  11. Nov 21, 2013 #10
    I think it was a joke (unless Google is using satellites).
     
  12. Nov 21, 2013 #11

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Google does use satellites (or, rather, buy the imagery). But I hope it was a joke...
     
  13. Nov 21, 2013 #12

    Nugatory

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It happens from time to time, but usually it's less spectacularly newsworthy so we don't hear about it. A while back a C-17 trying for MacDill AFB in Florida landed at a general aviation field instead; even though the C-17 (like most military cargo carriers) is designed for STOL operations, the youtube videos suggest that the subsequent takeoff was... exciting, and not in a good way.

    And of course there's the old saying that "Takeoff is optional, but landing is mandatory" - aircraft have been forced to land at very unsuitable fields after in-flight fires, mechanical failure, or fuel shortage. Usually someone finds a way of flying the plane out, but not always.
     
  14. Nov 21, 2013 #13

    Nugatory

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Reduced fuel load? Yes, they only need to make the short hop to the intended destination and they burned a fair amount of fuel in flight already.

    Offload the cargo? No so likely, it's an entire 787 fuselage section requiring custom-built and not especially mobile equipment to load and unload.
     
  15. Nov 21, 2013 #14

    Nugatory

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Plan is to take off at noon local time, 39 minutes from when I click "post"
     
  16. Nov 21, 2013 #15

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I know of a Boeing 737-300 that had double engine failure, both flamed out, and landed on a narrow grass levee near New Orleans. There was no way to drive the airplane away, disassembling was not a great option either, so they ended up replacing one engine and repairing the other and impressively were able to take off from the levee and take the airplane to an airport.
    http://lessonslearned.faa.gov/ll_main.cfm?TabID=1&LLID=40&LLTypeID=2

    Just shows an unlikely scenario can be an option, isn't reducing its weight or making the runway a little longer the easiest way to go?
     
  17. Nov 21, 2013 #16
    Just forget about it, massive planes are a dime a dozen.
     
  18. Nov 21, 2013 #17

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The OP link has been updated -- the plane was able to take off and get to the correct airport:

    http://news.yahoo.com/dreamlifter-cargo-plane-wrong-airport-wichita-135024064.html [Broken]

    .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  19. Nov 21, 2013 #18

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

  20. Nov 21, 2013 #19
  21. Nov 21, 2013 #20

    nsaspook

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor


    They had no idea where they had landed (how that's possible with GPS and landing aids is beyond me) on the glide path and were very lucky not to have crashing into another plane while landing and sitting in the middle of the runway. (a twin engine turboprop flew over the top of them during the confusion)

    KIAB-GPS19L_zps91d56f5d.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Plane lands at wrong airport and can't leave
Loading...