Plane that landed at wrong Missouri airport makes brief stop at Tulsa International on way to Dallas

TULSA - The Southwest Airlines jet that landed at the wrong Missouri airport stopped in Tulsa Monday on its way to Dallas.

The Boeing 737 arrived at Tulsa International Airport at 3:35 p.m. only to depart for Dallas Love Field just before 4 p.m.

Southwest Airlines Flight 4013 was traveling from Chicago Midway Airport bound for Branson Airport Sunday night. Somehow, it landed instead at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport, about seven miles away.

No one was hurt but a passenger described the landing as abrupt. The runway at M. Graham Clark airport is a little more than half as long as the one at the Branson Airport.

Southwest says the pilot and first officer were removed from flying pending an investigation.

Flight experts say reasons vary as to why and how pilots land in wrong airports or different cities. 

Pilot and flight instructor Mike Barnes of DestinationELC says runway lighting can be an issue for experienced pilots. 

"There's a lot of information. There is different lighting. Different type of lighting. Different sets of lighting and pattern of lighting. Whenever you're coming in on instrument approach you have to determine which lighting set you're looking for," Barnes said. 

Barnes also says bigger planes can have more of a challenge when looking for its destination. 

"If the aircraft is larger, it's going to be harder to see because it's going to have to pitch up and it's going to be harder to have an forward vision...big planes do sometimes come in at a higher altitude and maintain an higher altitude," Barnes said. 

Flight experts say the main issue pilots need to be aware of when flying is to not being distracted while in the cockpit because its easy for them to get lost. 

"With today's technology GPS will put you less than one meter and let you know where you are," Barnes said. 

Experienced pilots say landing at the wrong airport is uncommon,  but it's not unheard of and can happen more than a person thinks. 

Print this article Back to Top

Comments