Delta jet lands at wrong airport last night – Ellsworth Air Force base vs Rapid City

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short flight


Woopseee! I just hate it when you land at the wrong airport. Apparently that is what happened last night as Delta 2845 landed at RCA vs RAP that is 7 miles away. According to Delta News Hub:

“The flight crew of Delta Flight 2845 on the evening of July 7 conducted a safe landing at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota mistakenly rather than the flight’s intended destination of Rapid City, S.D. The Airbus A320 aircraft had 130 customers on board and was in-bound from Minneapolis/St. Paul. The flight re-departed for Rapid City Thursday night after coordinating with officials.

Delta has contacted the customers of this flight and offered a gesture of apology for the inconvenience.

The crew has been taken off-duty while an investigation commences by the National Transportation Safety Board. Delta will fully cooperate with that investigation and has already begun an internal review of its own. Safety is always Delta’s top priority.”

from google

From Google Maps

Happy everyone is safe and the next flight was just 11 minutes long. Now my burning questions are:

  • Was there a PFB before the second flight
  • How about 500 MQM minimum for the second flight
  • Would your Gogo session still work on the second flight

So many questions Delta did not answer in the PR (I know, my silly questions don’t really matter so that may be why they were not addressed).

Have you ever landed at the wrong airport before? – René


  1. I think this marks *at least* the second time a commercial plane has landed at Ellsworth by mistake. I thought it happened within the last few years, but from what I found online, an NWA A319 touched down there in 2004.

  2. Never landed at the wrong airport but last evening Delta’s flight 1118, ATL to Key West, returned to Atlanta midflight. What a bummer for those folks. I was told they left later than scheduled and couldnt make Key West before dark in the 737W, so they Diverted. Looks like you would know when sunset is before take off? I have been told that EYW is the shortest runway worldwide that Delta lands the 737W, and its an aggressive landing as well as static take off. Pretty exciting and they ALWAYS announce before landing. But I never knew they couldnt land after dark here??

  3. never have landed at a wrong airport, but Anthony you are right eyw, has the shortest runway. I hate it..always freaks me out especially on a 737,but then again MDW freaks me out to. What I would like to do someday is go to ST Barts..I hear that is something that might make you pucker up, and also ST Maarten…would love to do that one, along with being on the beach.

  4. Could have been disastrous. I assume they were talking to RAP control and not the AFB. Another plane on the runway…

  5. @scott. The runway inEluthra was bad as well. I was on a flight from jfk to Martinique 20 years ago on a 727. We stopped at eluthra to drop off a mechanic and spare tires for another plane that had a blowout on landing.

    Runway looked like a T. On one side was a burnt out she’ll of a small plane the other was a 727 with the flat. At the top of the T is the edge of the cliff….. I could see over it from row 3 of an all coach plane as the pilot turned after stopping on landing..

    Then they refueled by hand pumping from 55 gallon drums…….

  6. @renee

    No 500 MQMs or MQS. Same flight number and same plane. Stopover would not qualify as additional flight…..

  7. @rene

    I don’t know delta policies on those….. I experienced the other one first hand a few years back…

  8. bummer that key west airport closes at dusk!!! It is a small runway and no gates just tarmac and delta parks as far away from the entrance as possible?? silver gets a closer spot!! the sad thing is just down the road is a VERY LARGE airport and LONG runways that belong to the government (paid with our taxes) and is not in use is sitting there with no activity .. Key west airport should move there lots more room and then planes would not have to land in miami or go back to atl if problems with wind weather or dusk!!!! nuts

  9. I’ve never landed at the wrong airport but have been at an airport when a plane should not have landed there. I was a manager for Hertz Rent a Car and back in the late 80’s stationed at Dutchess County Airport (POU) near Poughkeepsie, NY served back then by American Eagle. This is an airport used by business jets, Commuter Airlines and General Aviation. One night I heard the loud sound of jet engines going into reverse thrust as a huge aircraft passed by the terminal’s window. Turns out a Flying Tigers DC-8 freighter landed at POU instead of SWF Stewart Airport about 12 miles to the west. With the short runway at POU it was a miracle that a disaster did not occur. Discussions on to get the aircraft out of the airport including disassembling it and trucking it out . Some calculations were done and the next day the DC-8 was flown out minus freight and very little fuel to minimize the weight and shuttled to Stewart Airport which has 11,000 feet runways vs our 5.100 ft runway at POU. I don’t think it was the same flight crew that flew it in. Caused a big fuss in a quiet mostly rural suburban community.

  10. Never noted for reserve, the only-slightly-larger 727 had more power available in EACH of its THREE engines than the DC8 could make with all of its FOUR engines combined. As for landing at night at a military field when the target was a civil aviation field, two pilots colorblind and/or unable to count to three does not inspire very much confidence.

  11. Captain: “Wow! This is the shortest runway I ever landed on! Co-pilot: “Yes, but is it ever W – I – D – E!”

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