KANSAS — At approximately 1:15pm local time, the Boeing Dreamlifter, registration N870BA, successfully took off from Jabara Airport in Wichita. The massive aircraft seemed to have no issues taking off, using about two-thirds of the 6,101 foot runway. Just minutes later at approximately 1:35pm, the Dreamlifter reached its intended destination of McConnell AFB.
The crew of a Boeing 747-409LCF Dreamlifter operated by Atlas Air lost its way last night, as they ended up at the tiny Jabara Airport in Wichita. Jabara is just north of their intended location of McConnell Air Force Base, where Spirit AeroSystems is located. The two airports are about seven miles apart.
Jabara Airport in northeast Wichita has one short runway at a length of 6,101 feet, which is much shorter than a runway typically used by a 747. The Dreamlifter was en-route from Grottaglie Airport in Italy, stopping over at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport earlier in the day. The Dreamlifter, one out of a fleet of four, is used to haul oversized parts for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner from around the world to the assembly lines in Washington and South Carolina.
The heavily modified 747 landed safely at Jabara, but the pilots were quite confused after touching down. Only after several minutes of talking with air traffic controllers at McConnell Air Force Base were they able to regain their bearings. Subsequent to the wayward landing, Jabara Airport was closed.
Airport officials expect a relief crew to arrive from New York later today. Once on scene, the aircraft is scheduled to depart at about noon local time. During the press conference, officials noted that no cargo will be unloaded from the heavy aircraft.