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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 163214
Last updated: 26 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B737 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Boeing 737-700
Owner/operator:Southwest Airlines
Registration: N272WN
MSN: 32527/2224
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 131
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (KPLK), Branson, MO -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Chicago Midway (KMDW)
Destination airport:Branson (KBBG)
Investigating agency: NTSB
A Boeing 737-700, operating as Flight SWA4013, in apparent error, landed without incident at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport (KPLK), Branson, Missouri.

Southwest Airlines issued the statement:

The Southwest Airlines Pilot in command of flight #4013 safely landed at (PLK) Taney County airport this evening. The Boeing 737-700 carried 124 Customers and a crew of five and was operating as a scheduled flight from Chicago Midway to Branson.

Our ground crew from the Branson airport has arrived at the airport to take care of our Customers and their baggage. The landing was uneventful, and all Customers and Crew are safe."

The flight crew briefed a plan to have radar vectors to the final approach course at Branson Airport and to use the RNAV (GPS) Runway 14 to line up on the final approach. The flight crew programmed the flight management system for the approach and set up the onboard navigation systems accordingly; including the use of distance measuring equipment from another approach navigation aid to provide additional situation awareness. During descent, the flight crew discussed the navigation information displayed, compared it to the lights they could see on the horizon, and confirmed what they believed to be the airport beacon based on that comparison early in the descent.

The approach controller cleared the flight direct to the final approach fix depicted on the RNAV approach to the runway of intended landing. While still about 20 miles from the destination airport, the approach controller advised the crew the airport was located at their 11 o'clock position and 15 miles although at the time, that position more closely approximated Downtown Airport. Branson Airport was slightly left at their 10 o'clock position and almost 20 miles. The flight crew called the airport in sight and accepted a visual approach clearance and handoff to Branson control tower. Upon checking in with Branson Tower, the crew was cleared to land on runway 14 at Branson.

When the crew identified what they believed to be Branson Airport early in the descent, they did not crosscheck or verify the airport position using onboard navigation after that point. Perceiving they were a little high on the approach into Downtown Airport, they widened the base leg for descent and then descended below approach control radar coverage as they turn onto final approach. Therefore, from the perspective of the approach controller this appeared to be a normal flight path into Branson Airport up to the point when radar contact was lost.

Instead, the flight crew lined up on final approach to runway 12 at Downtown Airport and proceeded to land. The captain recognized the error soon after touchdown when he realized the runway was shorter than expected and he applied maximum braking, coming to a stop about 300 feet from the end of the paved surface.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident as follows:
•The Flight crew's failure to properly identify the airport and runway of intended landing.

Contributing to the incident was the flight crew's failure to comply with procedures for use of navigation information and visual cues to verify the airport and runway of intended landing and the air traffic controller's issuance of erroneous airport geographic information without including the location of proximate airports.


Re: takeoff capability, see "Greyfox", 737 ferry flight takeoff, in following thread.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


Photo of N272WN courtesy

Los Angeles - International (KLAX / LAX)
15 November 2009; (c) F Seggie

Revision history:

13-Jan-2014 04:51 Geno Added
13-Jan-2014 12:59 bizjets101 Updated [Registration, Cn]
13-Jan-2014 14:32 northwest85 Updated [Total occupants]
28-Jan-2014 06:53 Geno Updated [Total occupants, Narrative]
05-Sep-2015 15:43 Aerossurance Updated [Source, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:28 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]

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