TAMPA, Fla. -- A U.S. Air Force pilot made a surprise landing at a tiny island airport in Tampa and the incident is now being investigated. The C-17 was supposed to land at MacDill Air Force Base. Instead it landed at the Davis Island Airport which is about four miles away.
A corporate pilot captured the landing on his I-Phone.
"MacDill's air strip is 11,000 foot long. This one's only 3,400 so it's almost triple the length over there," pilot Ryan Gucwa said.
"The thrust reversers went on full blast. It was sound-deafening and there was rubber coming from the tires," said witness Don Sipola. "And he stopped just about 10 feet short of the end of the runway."
Most of the planes that take-off and land at the small airport are the size of an SUV. Investigators are working to figure out if it was pilot error that caused the incident.
"I will give them credit that the runways are lined up exactly the same from here all the way over to MacDill and it's pretty much one straight line with the bay in between of it," Gucwa said.
Dozens of onlookers lined up to watch the huge plane take off from the tiny airport. Witnesses said they were curious to see if the plane could take off or if it was going to go off the end of the island.
Even though the landing was scary, the take-off was much different. The large C-17 had a successful departure leaving the crowd in awe.