Landing at the Correct Destination Airport – Are You Sure?

Is not so difficult to land at the wrong airport, especially when we wrongly think that we know the area.

With reference to past related incidents, a few days ago the NTSB issued a Safety Alert concerning landing at the wrong airport. In this issue the agency provides recommendations to avoid

Here a few tips that will help ensure that you are approaching to the right airport / runway.

1.- CHECK AND CROSSCHECK – In case of a visual approach, or visual circling maneuver, use all available resources – CRM – to positively identify the destination airport at wich you are approaching.

2.- TUNE AND IDENTIFY – Positively identify the destination airport through all available NAVAIDS like VOR; ILS; NDB; etc. And / Or verifying the correct indication / distance provided by the FMS.

3.- HEADING AND COURSE – Always set the runway in use final course prior to the approach briefing, check your heading and course deviation bar when on final approach, a runway heading that does not match the actual heading or course deviation bar fully displaced to either side is a good indication that something is wrong.

4.- SAVE THE DAY – If for some reason you are not sure that the runway in front of you is the correct one, request a landing clearance verification from the control tower on a prudent 4 to 5 NM final.

5.- GO AROUND! – Keep a perfect situational awareness on every stage of the approach and be always prepared for a go-around. In case of lack of published missed approach procedure for the stage being flown, make always the first climbing turn within the circling area, towards the landing runway.

6.- DON’T MAKE A BIGGER MISTAKE – If for some reason you are already landed at the wrong airport, don’t try to move the aircraft or taxi without assistance from airport authority.

Assess and positively execute all actions during all stages of flight.


Capt. Ivan



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