SWA Plane Lands at Wrong Airport

There’s a story this morning about a SWA plane landing at Taney County Airport (much shorter runway) near Branson instead of the actual Branson airport. The geography in and around both is similar and there only a few miles apart so I guess it’s not overly surprising. Anyway, at what point would the pilot have realized he blew it? He slammed on the brakes so he definitely knew it after hit touched down, but might he have realized the error on approach but it was too late to abort?

Here’s what I don’t get about this incident, as opposed to the recent one at Jabara. The runways at Branson and Taney aren’t even in line; they’re about 20 degrees apart. If Approach put him on the right heading for Branson, wouldn’t the pilot have been wary about a 20-degree course correction for the runway he landed on?

At least he didn’t land in Bronson, Missouri.

This is not that unusual. http://www.thirdamendment.com/wrongway.html This page has already been updated with that flight.

Dare I ask what planes and wrong airports have to do with quartering soldiers?

From the site’s homepage.

I heard the pilot to control tower audio (you can search for it), IIRC after landing the control tower asked the pilot do you know where you are?, Pilot replies almost laughingly yes, The control tower then says our radar shows you came down at (X) airport, pilot has a oh s#1T moment.

Good thing the pilot’s not a doctor.

You can pretty much abort up until you are on the ground and the lift spoilers are deployed, so they won’t have realised anything was wrong on the approach. I guess they didn’t know anything was wrong until the tower told them.

Apparently it took two hours to have a stairway that fits that plane toted over from the big airport.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we realize that you settled for Branson and had girded yourself to begin the slog through the comedy and pop hits of yesteryear, but I must announce that we are all literally trapped. While we wait for our freedom, please join the flight attendants in singing ‘Moon River’.”

That would only increase damages in the inevitable lawsuits.

Why not deploy the emergency slides?

Emergency slides are dangerous. They are better than burning to death or drowning but worse than waiting patiently on board.

Its easy to keep flying. In fact, its easy to put some wheels on the ground and keep flying.

Oh he’d sooner touch and go than knowingly try to land at a short runway.
Its when he wipes off a lot of speed on the ground that he gets stuck on the ground.

Perhaps on touching down he saw the numbers on the signs beside the runway (length of runway left.) and realized it is a short runway and went for maximum stopping power then.

I know this is a dumb question, but if we assume that lawyers don’t exist, SWA policies are cowboy-esque, and the plane had enough fuel and takeoff room for it’s weight, why couldn’t they just fly to the correct airport with all the passengers on board?

They certainly could do that if they had the takeoff room. But they don’t. They’ll have to offload all the cargo and most of the fuel and possibly the seats in order to retrieve the plane.

Did they (I assume) transport all the passengers to the right airport afterward?


Dang, I didn’t realize it was that bad. I guess JATO rockets are out of the question.

Not if “Here, hold my beer,” is an acceptable term for “cleared to take off.”