Pilot's view shows how easy Southwest runway mistake is



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CNN’s David Mattingly gets a bird’s-eye view of how a Southwest flight accidentally landed at the wrong airport. More from CNN at

>> AND CLEARED FOREOFF 5,000 ON COURSE, CHANCELLOR. >> TAKING TO THE AIR OVER BRANSON, MISSOURI, WE'RE RETRACING THE LAST MOMENTS OF A WRONGWAY LANDING THAT PUT A VERY BIG PASSENGER CIGARETTES ON A VERY SMALL RUNWAY. MATT GIVES US A PILOT'S EYE VIEW. >> WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD ABOUT THIS, WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION? >> MY REACTION WAS SHOCK. >> A 1WE68 AIRLINES 737 CAME TO A SCREECHING HALT SUNDAY NIGHT AT A SMALL COUNTY AIRPORT SEVEN MILES FROM ITS INTENDED DESTINATION IN BRANSON. A POTENTIALLY DISASTROUS ERROR WE DISCOVER THAT SEEMS SURPRISINGLY EASY TO MAKE. >> SO THIS IS WHERE THEY MADE THEIR MISTAKE RIGHT HERE. >> THAT'S EXACTLY IT. >> WHO YOUR CAMERA CAN'T SHOW IT BUT JUST TEN MILES OUT, BOTH AIRPORTS ARE CLEARLY VISIBLE. JUST A SLIGHT TURN OF THE WHEEL CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. >> SEVEN MILES APART DOES NOT LOOK LIKE MUCH UP HERE. >> NOT AT ALL. >> IF YOU'RE IN A BIG COMMERCIAL JET FLYING FASTER THAN WE ARE RIGHT NOW, THAT DIFFERENCE IS EVEN SMALLER, RIGHT? >> THAT IS CORRECT. >> CAN YOU SEE THAT, CAN YOU SEE THE RUNWAY STRAIGHT AHEAD OF US? >> YES, CLEAR AS DAY. >> FROM UP HERE THE RUNWAY SEEMS IMPOSSIBLY SHORT. IT'S OBVIOUSLY OBVIOUS IT WASN'T BUILD FOR LARGE AIRCRAFT. THE SOUTHWEST PILOTS PROBABLY DIDN'T REALIZE THEIR MISTAKE TILL IT WAS TOO LATE. THEY PASSED THE POINT OF NO RETURN JUST 200 FEET BEFORE THEY WERE IN FOR THE SHOCK OF THEIR LIVES. >> WHEN THEY REALIZED THEIR MISTAKE, THEY HAD TO BE PANICKING. THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO. >> YEAH, THEY WILL ONE CHOICE, EITHER GO OR THEY THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET IT STOPPED. >> HOW DID THEY POSSIBLY STOP IT? >> I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THEY GOT IT STOPPED BEFORE THE END OF THAT RUNWAY INTO IT TAKES JUST TEN SECONDS IS MATCHING THE LANDING SPEED OF THE 737 TO GO FROM ONE END OF THE RUNWAY TO THE OTHER. >> AS WE COME UP TO THE END OF THE RUNWAY HERE, YOU'RE GOING TO NOTICE THE BIG CLIFF. >> OH, MY — UNBELIEVABLE. >> THE AIRCRAFT AT DOWNTOWN AIRPORT. >> OH, MAN. >> LOOK AT THAT. >> A VIEW OUT THE SIDE OF OUR PLANE REVEALS THE ABRUPT DROP AND THE UNSUSPECTING MOTORISTS BELOW. AMAZINGLY, THE 737 STOPPED AVERTING TRAGEDY WITH JUST 500 FEET TO SPARE. >> THEY COULD HAVE SO EASILY GONE OFF THE END OF THAT RIGHT ONTO THE EXPRESSWAY. >> AS WE FLY SAFELY AWAY IS, THE QUESTION OF HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN SEEMS OVERSHADOWED BY SOMETHING EVEN HARDER TO GRASP. >> HOW DID THEY PULL THIS OFF SAFELY? >> IT'S ACTUALLY PRETTY INCREDIBLE FEAT TO BE ABLE TO LAND SUCH A LARGE AIRCRAFT ON A SMALL RUNWAY. >> WITH NO SHORTAGE OF SMALL MIRACLES FOR THE

47 thoughts on “Pilot's view shows how easy Southwest runway mistake is”

  1. wouldn't it be CRAZY if airplanes, airports, and runways were made with the intention of having multiple layers of precaution? It's almost as if landing strips have very large room for error in order to prevent big crashes! For fuck's sake CNN, this story should have just been in the news of the weird in the local newspaper, not on national television

  2. Now for the REAL story.

    Southwest Pilots and Flight Attendants are famous for pulling off "gags" on each other and the passengers and this was one of the best!

    This landing was ON PURPOSE and because of a best between the Pilot and the Flight Engineer. Pilot wagered $1000 he could make the landing with "a football field to spare" and the FE took the bet. Co Pilot abstained because he feared a suspension of firing if he was involved although he knew the Pilot could pull it off. It worked no problem with another 200 feet extra runway and the wager was paid.

    Pilot was suspended for one week WITH pay so he had a weeks vacation plus $1000.

  3. This meaningless video explains about two percent of the story. Anything aviation covered by the news is generally 80 percent inaccurate. Pretty big FU by those two SW guys.

  4. How hard is it to keep LNAV/VNAV on until you're intercepting the Localizer and the Glideslope? Maybe CNN needs a slight bit of knowledge before trying to make news. Also, how did it stop? Have you never heard of brakes?

  5. because we are fucking pilots and this is what we are trained to do .. make decision in a snap of a finger and why the hell wasn't ATC tracking the plane to let them know

  6. Nah, you have to be a complete fool to land a modern Boeing 737 with all of the millions of dollars worth of positioning and radio equipment on board at the wrong airport. Sorry.

  7. This could have easily been prevented. The equipment on a 737 can tell you where the airport is and what airport it is. If they were flying the ILS that would have been a even bigger wake up call that this is the wrong airport.

  8. This can be prevented by using the proper navaids to the landing runway. If the SWA crew had done that they would’ve landed on the correct runway. It’s an easy thing to prevent.

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