Runway Lights Off, Plane Turns Back

runway lights
image: flywichitafalls.net

Imagine an hour and forty minute fight to nowhere thanks to the runway lights being turned off… Crazy.

An American Eagle plane trying to land at a small airport in Wichita Falls, Texas had to turn back when the pilot approached the airport only to find the runway lights had been turned off.

The flight left from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, flying 125 miles to Wichita Falls.

The plane took over a half hour late and when approaching the destination, “the pilot told passengers that the runway lights were turned off and there was nobody at the airport to turn them on” according to the ABC News.

It sounds like the pilot may have been at fault since Wichita Falls officials said the pilot had the wrong radio frequency to turn on the lights at the 13,000 foot runway.

According to the article, many smaller airports do not staff their control towers 24 hours a day so pilots can operate them with their radio. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of this before. Definitely interesting…

The article mentioned that “city aviation director John Burrus said that Sheppard Air Force Base, which shares the facility, had closed the runway and turned off the lights“. Pilots were supposedly told of the closure and the American Eagle plane could’ve just “landed onĀ an adjacent, 10,000-foot runway that was lit“.

The incident is being investigated by the airline to see what went wrong and why the pilot didn’t land on the shorter runway.

Overall, the flight took one hour and forty minutes including 30 minutes of circling over Wichita Falls.

The plane landed back to Dallas- Fort Worth around midnight and had 45 passengers onboard.

I just want to know what (if any) compensation was offered to the passengers for this crazy mix-up.

Find out more from ABC News here.

One thought on “Runway Lights Off, Plane Turns Back

  1. You get the training as early as getting your private pilots license on how to turn on inactive runway lights. It’s as simple as having the radio on the airport frequency and keying your mic button in a certain pattern.

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