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A few years back, a young Air Force pilot made an error that might just follow him for the rest of his career. Flying a gigantic C-17 from Italy to Florida, he mistook a small civilian airport for an airfield he was supposed to land on four miles further down.
Upon touchdown, he hit the brakes and screeched the plane to a halt, shaking the entire neighborhood. The runway was 3,405 feet long, about 1/3 the size of the right airstrip he was headed for. Come to think of it, this could have been much worse.
The Air Force attributed the erroneous landing to “fatigue, complacency and a lack of flight discipline.”
Once the error became apparent (which was almost immediately,) the next big problem arose. How in this world is this thing going to take off from such a short runway?
With some thinking, the Air Force dumped everything humanly possible out of the plane to make it as light as possible. Then came the moment of truth. The crew needed every inch of that runway to take off, and it was caught on camera. Check it out for yourself. It was a spectacle many people attended and captured on their cameras.