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Continental Connection Plane Lands At Wrong Louisiana Airport

First Posted: 09/09/11 10:42 AM ET Updated: 11/09/11 05:12 AM ET

A Continental Connection turboprop plane landed at the wrong airport Wednesday night, leaving passengers to share a limo ride from Southland Field in Sulphur, Louisiana to their intended destination of Lake Charles Regional, about a half-hour drive away.

It's the third time in the past 15 years that pilots have confused the two airports, an official tells local TV station KPLC.

The confusion, says Southland Field manager Sam Larsh, stems from the fact that the airports are on the same latitude. Because runways are oriented according to prevailing winds, the two neighboring airports can look similar from the air, he tells KPLC.

It's hardly the first time pilots have missed their destination. In 2009, two Northwest pilots missed their runway by 150 miles, leading the FAA to revoke their flight credentials. In 2007, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was on a private flight that landed in Des Moines — instead of Cedar Rapids.

As for Continental Connection, it's one of the many regional carriers operating under increased scrutiny since the 2009 crash of a regional turboprop outside Buffalo. That plane was also operated by Colgan Air, the carrier that operates Flight 3222 between Houston and Lake Charles, or in at least one case, Sulphur, Louisiana.

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Filed by Paul Brady  |