Thursday evening, Delta Air Lines flight 2845 from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Rapid City accidentally landed at nearby Ellsworth AFB, 6.3 nm (11.7 km) north-northwest of the intended destination. The Airbus A320 (N333NW) with 130 passengers had flown north of both airports, intending to land to the southeast on Rapid City's runway 14 but instead landed on Ellsworth AFB's much-longer runway 13. After nearly three hours, during which the passengers were instructed by military personnel to lower their window shades, the aircraft made the short hop to Rapid City.
Such mistakes are not as rare as one might expect. Indeed, about 12 years ago, on 19 June 2014, a Northwest Airbus A319 operating flight 1152 with 117 passengers also mistakenly landed at Ellsworth AFB on a flight from MSP to Rapid City. (As suggested by its N333NW registration, this week's wayward Delta A320 came from Northwest when the two carriers merged.)
Today's Featured Map shows the direct path from MSP and the short hop between the two South Dakota airports.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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