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Delta Flight Mistakenly Lands at Ellsworth AFB

Delta plane lands at Air Force base about 7 miles from the correct airport. ( More...

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Chris B 6
Flight into the Airforce base
Whoops the hop over...
Cade foster 6
Correct me if I am wrong but isn't the rotating beacon (alternating white/green) for the Military airport different from the civilian airport?
Bob Roehrer 3
civil beacon: green / white mil beacon: green / white-white
bentwing60 3
Cade foster 1
Thanks been along time since I used my wings....
yatesd 1
Military is a double white flash created with a split beam lens.
Pa Thomas 5
Should be a group of embarrassed ATCs, too.
I may be the only man alive who recalls a NWA DC-3 landing at Fergus Falls in the early 1950s en route to Fargo from MSP. The pilots, when realizing their mistake, didn't stop and proceeded on without stopping to Fargo without telling the company. A passenger, though, turned them in. I was in NWA dispatch then.
Does Ellsworth AFB have military controllers? If so, What were they doing? Sleeping on duty is punishable under the UCMJ. If they had seen a target lined up on their approach course or visually seen an aircraft on final, they should have started asking questions. How can they allow an unknown aircraft touchdown on their base? I believe that Ellsworth is a SAC base, huge breach of security! Time to review the LOA's, OPS letters and FAC memos!
Ryan Allen 1
Yes, Ellsworth runs approach control for both the base and RAP. I fly into RAP somewhat regularly, and almost every time you're doing a visual, both approach control and tower remind you of the closeness of Ellsworth. Having flown the visual here many times myself, I find the fact that this happened pretty troubling.
Tim Bynum 0
SAC bases have not existed since the early 90s. It is a Global Strike Command base. Prior to that, it was part of the Air Combat Command.
Egadnow 2
My first base, after school, was March AFB, a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base with B47s, a very dangerous aircraft to crew.
We lost 2 of about 50 each year!
Even more dangerous was the SAC Commander, Gen. Curtis Lemay (i think).
We need some like him now!!!
bees31ballard 6
Can I ask a stupid question, where is ATC in all of this?
Highflyer1950 5
Not stupid at all, if they requested a visual then ATC would have cut them loose. If they requested a contact approach then ATC would have monitored and provided separation from known IFR traffic. Probably two people looking outside when should have been monitoring the instruments during the approach.
This isn't the first time they've done this, either. well, Perhaps the first time for DAL.

NWA (now part of DAL) did the very same thing back in 2004; was flying into KRAP and landed at KRCA. Because of that, there was a NOTAM distributed warning pilots to verify that they are on final for KRAP.. I guess DAL didn't get the memo..
Right, the NWA A319
I guess they merged to put the dummies together.
Easily preventable by simply loading up an approach to the runway of intended landing. Monitor the approach while flying the "visual".
30west 2
Amen P.S., electronic backup will save your bacon every time.........assuming you use it (and I hate to say, KNOW how to use it) correctly. Yes, Asiana 214 comes quickly to mind when thinking about knowing how to use it correctly.
Bryce Johnson 2
Even being established on a published segment of an approach doesn't guarantee anything. Ask the Atlas crew going into McConnell AFB. A little situational awareness goes a long way!
joel wiley 2
I seem to recall a post from a former ATC in Sacramento relating a number of times he found civilian flights for KSMC lining up on KMCC and advised FLight XYZ turn right to 270 to intersect your approach vector. Not usual, but not unknown.
bentwing60 3
OOPS! My one adventure with this mistake was richly rewarded when the passengers came walking back out of the fbo chuckling to the tune of "do you know where we are!" At least they were chuckling.
Mike Jones 3
Everyone is quick to ask what pilots are doing and they seem to get the major blame and should as they are in charge of the flight. But the hell were air traffic controllers doing that were responsible for this flight? The flight went off track and landed seven miles from its intended destination and no controller says what are you dong Delta. Before you disagree I am a 34 year retired ATC and wonder how this happens. What were we doing?
joel wiley 3
I suspect that management at KRAP asked that very question.
Interesting comment under 'wrong airport' on AV heralds report on the incident.
James Simms 5
"Hey Bing, Why are all these people outside pointing automatic weapons at us? Ya don't think we landed at the wrong place, do you?"

yatesd 3
Yes, when you do this on a military base you get a "stop alert" greeting, typically with ARFF vehicles and Security Forces blocking the offender until their intentions can be determined.
Don't modern day FMS require you to enter the destination airport/runway and then display this when selecting the approach screen?
How about backing up the visual for 14 with the RNAV for that runway.... Delta must have that in their ops specs with their manual.
boughbw 2
Here is another question: Can the aircraft take-off/go-around after touching-down? At some point, the pilots must have seen that row of bombers and realized their mistake while still on the runway, if not prior to touching-down.

I suppose what I am getting at is whether there is a protocol for this kind of thing wherein the pilots have to keep the plane on the ground to be interrogated by the authorities at the base.
As long as you didn't touch the runway, you're not there yet...
elpipila 2
Having grown up there, I would have thought they would have recognized the rows of bombers in approach as nor being commercial airliners. They have a very distinctive shape.
joel wiley 3
At least they didn't have a problem with a short runway like a certain SWA flight or a C-17 a while back...
or a certain B747 "attempting" to land at McConnell AFB and ended up at a GA airport for crop-dusters.
Highflyer1950 2
I guess they didn't notice that they hadn't passed the FAF yet!
alan75035 2
They were trying to catch Pikachu.
FAA plays that game too, they'll send them Gotchu...
Someone told the flight crew there was a Gyrados at the tower.
Grant Cooper 1
This was a long time ago and I remember a PSA night landing at KBUR and tried to land at KWHP. Both have north south runways with similar numbers back then. Thank goodness that didn't happen as the runway was much shorter and the 727 would have sunk into the surface as well as trim everything on either side.
Yusef Elnahas 1
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Delta A320 at Rapid City on Jul 7th 2016, landed on wrong airport

A Delta Airlines Airbus A320-200, registration N333NW performing flight DL-2845 from Minneapolis,MN to Rapid City Regional Airport,SD (USA) with 130 passengers, was on approach to Rapid City Regional Airport's [ICAO: KRAP] runway 14 but aligned with Rapid City's Ellsworth Air Force Base's runway 13 and landed safely on the runway of the Air Force Base.

The aircraft remained on the ground for about 2.5 hours, then performed the short hop of about 6nm from Ellsworth [KRCA] to Regional Airport.

The NTSB announced they are investigating the occurrence, when the A320 landed at Ellsworth AFB instead of Rapid City Regional Airport.
aeroflyer 1
Ref my earlier comment:

On the late evening of June 20, 1980 - A Delta Air Lines 727, bound for Tampa, Florida (TPA), mistakenly lands at MacDill Air Force Base instead. At the bottom of the stairs was a large welcoming group of USAF Security Police and K-9's.
joblai 1
I guess they didn't put a ring around it. That FMC can be useful sometimes.
Jakub Bialek 1
Erm....No communication with the ATC or airport tower to tell them they are on the wron approach??
aeroflyer 1
Didn't Delta Airlines do the very same thing a few years prior? I remember an event where a DC9/MD80? landed at MacDill AFB at night. They were met by USAF Security and K9's.
Now THAT'S a funny mistake. But then again... How the passangers will do checkout and calling a Taxi?

jmilleratp 1
Doncha hate when that happens? :-)
Margeaux K 1
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Delta Flight Lands at Air Force Base by Mistake

Oops: Some 130 Delta passengers were stuck on the tarmac for hours Thursday night after they were mistakenly taken to a military airport instead of a civilian one.
You should see what we do to Navy fighters that mistakenly land on a similar Aircraft Carrier mistaking it for their own
Scott Wiggins 2
Gotta check that hull unlit Fresnel lens is a dead giveaway too.
dodger4 1
Storm in a teacup. Next....?
Ed Merriam 1
I presume this is what happens when the lighthouse and the aircraft carrier from the joke have their positions reversed?
Jesse Carroll 1
Is Delta revising their old slogan, "Delta Will Get You There", well somewhere!
Steve Cook 2
They have. It's now "Delta will get you there—under armed escort!"
What happened to the FMS? What happened to the ATC? Tower? Markers? Amazing this happens on this modern day. Also, none of this is in the news. hhhmmmmm.
Following up on my post.....I wonder how does the FAA investigate these incidents. Is it up to the Airline to sanction the pilots and everyone else involved or does it end with the "oops".
Tim Bynum 1
It made the news here in Kansas. Especially since a little over 3 years ago, we had a Boeing Dreamlifter land at Jabara Airport, short of McConnell AFB.
Ric Wernicke -1
Probably a defect in the iPad they were using to navigate because it is so much easier to operate than the system built into the airplane.
Bryce Johnson 2
Im confused by this statement....
Davenit 2
A lot of pilots now use mobile devices to learn about the arrival airport. Apparently, Ric thinks the old paper charts were easier to use and understand.
Bryce Johnson 2
I just thought "Using to navigate" was an interesting term as if the iPad has some control over navigating the airplane. Our airline uses iPads and they are quite useful for charts and makes it much easier to see the whole picture and flip between charts.
Davenit 1
I don't know what else was meant. If Airbus now makes iPad controlled planes, I must have missed it!
i don't think in terms of autopilot capabilities. They do have the ipads with the various navigation charts, instead of that huge book of all the airports and flight paths and such.

so yes, you can use an ipad to navigate, the same way that a garmin GPS or your trusty AAA road atlas could help you navigate your way around the US
Bryce Johnson 1
The original post suggested that there was a system already built into the airplane that could have been used instead of an iPad. Or that a defect in the iPad could result in landing at the wrong airport. I don't think road trippin' uses quite the same navigation since most guys just plug in the fixes in the FMS, but yes, in the terminal area for approaches we do get that information from the iPad.
Cannot cure stupid.
Pilots must have been collage graduates, thinking about their loan debt
chalet 0
Not even doing the best carpet dancing pirouettes is going to save their skin.
C'est la vie...

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Delta pilots seemingly can't find their butts lately.
That could be a problem with ish piling up!!!
John Shearer -3
Hey Wilson, you have obviously never been there in so many ways - just keep to the facts and understand that projecting one's own personality onto another is unfair to the projectee and telling of the projector - got it?
Screw you AH

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joel wiley 3
Badgering the witness, Counselor?

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I'll bet my last yen that they weren't real Pilots, they're just Fliers...
Bryce Johnson 3
An iPad is not going to result in you landing at the wrong airport. Now not paying attention and losing situational awareness while fixating on your iPad might. Just about every airline is using some form of mobile device in the cockpit now and this type of incident is very rare. Its not the iPad....
Bryce Johnson 2
And even if the thing STILL shouldn't land at the wrong airport. Theres a reason we learn how to fly VFR first...
Egadnow -2
Very disturbing, as Ellsworth should have been talking to an airliner landing at RAP.
Unfortunately airliners landing at the wrong airport happens about each year in the USA.
Now that almost all aircraft, even J3s with a handhelt, have GPS, it seems rediculous, but it continues to happen, even with ATPs with equipment that costs more than many personal aircraft.


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