UPDATE: Boeing Dreamlifter successfully departs Jabara

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email
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WICHITA, Kan. -- The Boeing Dreamlifter has successfully taken off from Jabara airport
The Dreamlifter took off from Jabara Airport after 1:00 p.m. and made a short flight to McConnell Air Force Base.

The massive cargo plane landed in Wichita late Wednesday night, but at the wrong airport.

Elizabeth Cory with the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington tells KAKE News a Boeing 747 LCF Dreamlifter landed at Col. James Jabara around 9:20 Wednesday night. The plane was en route to McConnell Air Force Base last night, but landed at Jabara, several miles to the north.

The pilots of the Dreamlifter were apparently not aware of their mistake until a few moments after they had landed the jumbo jet Wednesday night, reports ABC News.

Boeing sent a tug to Jabara Airport to turn the jet around. It had a law enforcement escort, because it had a top speed of about 13 miles per hour. Once it arrived, the tug successfully turned the plane around shortly before 7 a.m.

A relief crew was flown to Wichita Thursday morning, and successfully took off from Jabara around 1 p.m. It landed at McConnell a few minutes later.

Atlas Air flight 4241 is in very tight quarters, as the Jabara runway is only 100 feet wide. Jabara’s runway is also approximately 6,101 feet, much shorter than what is typically used for a 747 for takeoff. For comparison, McConnell's runway is 12,000 feet.

According to Victor White, director of Wichita airports, there were other concerns before the takeoff. The major concern was that Jabara's runway could be damaged by such a heavy plane, which is estimated at about 600,000 pounds.

Brad Christoher with the Wichita Airport Authority said there is no apparent damage to the Jabara runway. A stress engineer will likely be hired to do a thorough inspection of the runway. Jabara Airport has reopened.

The jet reportedly is owned by Atlas Air of Purchase, New York, and had a two-person crew. Boeing says the 747 jumbo jet is being used to haul parts for construction of its new 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel says the Dreamlifter was bound for McConnell because it is adjacent to Spirit AeroSystems, a major supplier for the Dreamliner.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is gathering information on the incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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