RAPID CITY, S.D. - The National Transportation Safety Board is blaming pilot error for a Delta Air Lines jet with 130 passengers landing at the wrong airport in South Dakota.
The Delta flight from Minneapolis landed last July at Ellsworth Air Force Base, about 6 miles northwest of the intended destination, Rapid City.
The airfields have runways that nearly line up. The NTSB's report says pilot confusion between the two is fairly common, though controllers and crews usually catch the error before landing.
The NTSB says the Delta pilots misidentified the runway due to excess altitude and failure to use all the navigation information available to them. The crew realized its mistake just before touchdown, but decided it was safest to complete the landing.
Delta Air Lines says the captain of that jet retired shortly after the incident.
Delta spokesman Michael Thomas also says the first officer underwent retraining and is back flying for the airline.
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