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11/18/03 Wrong runway

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Plane lands on wrong runway at Midway

November 18, 2003

BY ROBERT C. HERGUTH Transportation Reporter

A single-engine airplane cleared to land on one Midway Airport runway accidentally landed on a parallel strip that a Boeing 737 was about to depart from, officials confirmed Monday.

The planes never came in contact because the 737, a commercial flight scheduled to leave from Runway 22-Left about 5:20 p.m. Friday, noticed the small Mooney plane approaching the strip and held back on the taxiway rather than turn onto the runway, officials said.

The incident was described by one aviation expert as unsettling and unusual, although something that can happen in parallel runway operations, especially when it's dark and there's an inexperienced pilot.

"A Mooney was cleared to land on [Runway 22-Right] but landed on [22-Left] instead," according to the Federal Aviation Administration. "A 737 was scheduled to take off on [22-Left], but saw the Mooney and stopped before entering the runway, allowing the Mooney to land."

Neither pilot filed a "near-miss report," indicating it wasn't that close of a call, officials said.

The FAA wouldn't identify who was operating the 737, but it was believed to be a Southwest Airlines flight. An airline spokeswoman, however, could not confirm that Monday.


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