Being a pilot is hard. There are loads of buttons, distracting flashy lights and that uniform doesn’t iron itself. But this is just silly.
The 130 passengers on board Delta Flight 2845 were all surprised to discover their plane had landed in the wrong airport, reports Uproxx. Which seems like quite a major error to me.
The flight was travelling on an hour and a half flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Rapid City, South Dakota. But somehow missed their landing by ten miles and landed at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
In the pilot’s defence the runways are almost identical and point in the same direction. But you’d think there’d be at least someone would have noticed the error.
That said 150 airplanes have landed at the wrong airport since the early 1990s according to An Associated Press study.
The study into accidental landings found that:
In most cases, the pilots were cleared by controllers to fly based on what they could see rather than relying on automation. Many incidents occurred at night, with pilots reporting they were attracted by the runway lights of the first airport they saw during descent.
Which makes pilots seem a bit like moths or something. You’d imagine that pilot training would weed out anyone who got distracted by shiny things easily. But apparently not.
Thankfully everyone was totally fine, although probably a bit baffled, and the flight quickly turned around and took the passengers to their destination with an apology.