Giant cargo plane in unexpected stopover at small US airport

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People watch as a Dreamlifter 747 cargo plane prepares for takeoff at Col. James Jabara Airport on Thursday (Friday in Manila) in Witchita, Kansas.  AFP PHOTO

People watch as a Dreamlifter 747 cargo plane prepares for takeoff at Col. James Jabara Airport on Thursday (Friday in Manila) in Witchita, Kansas. AFP PHOTO

WASHINGTON, D.C.: A Boeing 747 Dreamlifter made a risky takeoff without incident on Thursday (Friday in Manila) from a small Kansas airport after accidentally landing there the night before.

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The giant cargo plane, one of just four in the world, was on its way from New York’s Kennedy International Airport to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas when it landed by mistake on Wednesday night at nearby Colonel James Jabara Airport.

The pilot was surprised when an air traffic controller told him he had just landed at Jabara, not McConnell.

The small general aviation airport, with its 6,100-foot runway, isn’t designed to handle jumbo jets.

“We don’t know why it landed at Jabara airport instead of McConnell,” said Valerie Wise, spokeswoman for the Wichita Airport Authority.

But she said, “it landed safely at 9:30 p.m. There was no damage to the aircraft, and no damage to the airport.”

Atlas Air, which operates the aircraft, brought in a tug to turn the plane around, and its engineers ran calculations on whether it could take off again.

“They feel it is perfectly safe to take off from Jabara,” Wise said.

At about 1:15 p.m. local time (7:15 p.m. Manila time), the aircraft taxied and took off in cold, rainy weather.

AFP

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