- Continental Airlines Flight 1760
Continental Airlines Flight 1760 Incident summary Date May 11, 1997 Type Wrong airport Site Nueces County, near Corpus Christi, Texas Passengers 49 Crew 5 Injuries 0 Fatalities 0 Survivors 54 (all) Aircraft type Boeing 737-524 Operator Continental Airlines Tail number N16618
On May 11, 1997 Continental Airlines Flight 1760, inbound from George Bush Intercontinental Airport landed safely at Naval Air Station Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi, Texas by mistake. The plane was approaching Corpus Christi International Airport through low clouds and directed by Air Traffic Control to use the runway 31 localizer to guide them to the runway. When the Captain saw a runway ahead of him after leaving the clouds he made his approach and landed on runway 31 at Cabaniss Field 5 nautical miles (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) to the southeast.
Contributing to this incident was the tower controller at Corpus Christi turning the runway 13 localizer on for a prior arrival. After that aircraft landed it was not disengaged to turn the localizer to runway 31 back on. Both localizers used the same frequency. There are only 40 frequencies that are currently available for them to operate on. In order to efficiently manage the available radio spectrum many runways utilize the same frequency on opposite ends. To prevent the two transmitting arrays from conflicting with each other only one can be turned on at a time. Pilots are able to distinguish them from each other by listening for the callsign transmitted over the frequency in morse code.
The crew in this case failed to identify the localizer, which would have alerted them they were not on the correct localizer. They were in fact flying an unauthorized back course. On a normal approach a left deflection of the instrument needle means the plane should adjust its course to the left to intercept the localizer. With a back course it is now the other way around, a fly left indication means fly right. This error may have led the plane off course enough to place Cabaniss Field in front of them.
- ^ "Two pilots grounded in mix-up". The Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. May 13, 1997. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=DM&p_theme=dm&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0ED3D91208A61901&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
NTSB Report 
Incidents resulting in at least 50 deaths shown in italics. Deadliest incident shown in bold smallcaps.
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