Excuse me, who's flying this plane? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Excuse me, who's flying this plane?


It's the second time in less than two months a plane touched down where it wasn't supposed to.

Officials are still working to figure out how and why in the latest incident where a Southwest Airlines jet landed at the wrong airport.

The plane packed with 124 passengers came to a halt just 500 feet from the edge of the runway.

Todd Shellnutt is Owner and Instructor at Skyline Flight Training in Columbus, Ga. He says, "When those guys actually make a mistake, or girls make a mistake, there is a tendency to say, 'Wow! They are the real professionals. Why did this happen?"

Shellnut says smaller planes landing where they are not supposed to happens all the time, but it is uncommon for large passenger jets to make this kind of mistake.

Shellnut says pilots must learn the balance between using modern technology and training to land a plane.

"People want to come out and learn to fly when they have done some stuff on their flight simulator at the house," Shellnut explains. "So, when they come [to learn to fly], they're really looking to just pay attention to the instruments, but during the initial training as a private pilot, out of the 40 plus hours it takes to do it in the air, only three of those hours are spent in reference to the instruments."

He explains an incident like the one in Branson can teach all pilots a valuable lesson.

"Top notch professionals still make mistakes, and that's why we have to constantly push ourselves as pilots to make sure that we do the absolute best we can every time we're in an airplane."

However, there is a lot of pressure on pilots, according to Shellnutt. He says it takes a lot of discipline to command the cockpit.

"We are very heavily scrutinized. We have to basically live a perfect life," Shellnut adds.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident.

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