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Wrong-Way Pilots

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By: Robert F. Geimer

U.S. commercial and cargo planes have either landed or attempted to land at the wrong airport at least 150 times since the early 1990s, according to an AP search of government safety data and news reports.  For what is supposed to be the safest means of transportation, this number is deeply troubling.  Just last month a Southwest Airlines 737 landed at the wrong airport in Missouri.  The pilots in that case told investigators they mistook runway lights at the wrong airport for the correct airfield 7 miles away.  Had another plane been on the runway, it could have ended in disaster.  There is no excuse for a commercial aircraft to land at the wrong airport.  Pilot and airline safety groups, along with the NTSB and FAA need to look into this problem and come up with ways to make sure it never happens again.

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