Report: Plane landed at wrong airport due to human error

Report: 'Reduced cognitive capacity' cited among reasons plane landed at wrong airport

A report obtained by the Tampa Tribune sheds some light on why a large military cargo plane landed at the wrong airport back in July.

According to the article, the crew of a military cargo jet landed at Peter O. Knight Airport because of fatigue, complacency and a lack of flight discipline.

The Tribune reports the crew arrived in Rome about two days before the flight to Tampa and spent a day touring the historic city. That night the pilot lost his cell phone in a taxi. The pilot lost sleep trying to find it and worrying about it.

The night before, the flight crew said they got eight hours of sleep, but the time zone changes prevented them from getting a good night's rest.

Both pilots told investigators they were feeling tired but thought they could function properly.

An evaluation done afterward found the two were acting at a reduced cognitive capacity. According to the article, the pilot was at 79 percent effectiveness, the co-pilot was at 89 percent. The report says 70 percent effectiveness is the same level of impairment as having a blood alcohol level of .08.

The report also says the crew received a landing briefing which included a warning that Peter O. Knight was less than five miles away from MacDill Air Force Base.

The 400,000-pound C-17 Globemaster landed at the airport several miles from where it was supposed to land at MacDill.

It got a lot of attention around the Bay Area, with people showing up to see the large aircraft on a small runway. It made a dramatic takeoff from the short runway eight hours after landing.

There's no word whether disciplinary action was taken.

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