Update 2:55 p.m.: The plane took off safely at around 1:15 p.m. local time. Wichitans braved the cold (and the fear of a gigantic plane crashing on them) to watch the plane lift off.
Original: Thanks to a 12-mile mistake, one of the biggest planes in the world is stuck in the middle of Kansas. The pilots of a 747 Dreamlifter cargo plane landed at an airport with a runway that is 3,000 feet too short for the enormous plane to take off again. The pilots thought they were landing at McConnell Air Force Base, but for some reason landed at Wichita's Jabara airport.
Apparently neither the airport personnel, nor the pilots thought landing one of the biggest cargo planes in the world at an airport with 12 gates and seven airlines was a bit off. "Jabara has no control tower and normally doesn't handle jumbo jets," CNN reported.
While the plane landed safely, getting it up in the air is a different story. Because the plane is so big, it needs a lot of room to build up speed and take off (which is why they wanted to land at an Air Force base). The Dreamlifter needs a runway 9,199 feet long to take off, reported KWCH. Jabara 's runway is just 6,101 feet.
So for now, this majestic king of the skies is just looking like a sad, fat plane on Jabara's runway. The original escape plan was to arrange for a tug for the plane, but the drag of shame was nixed after the intended tug broke down. Officials now say that the plane will take off from Jabara despite the short runway at noon today. "Airport officials believe the relatively short runway will not be an issue, and cargo still aboard the jet will not be removed," KAKE reported. Stay tuned to see if the big bird can take flight again.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.