NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Some passengers on a flight had a bit of a scare during their landing into Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport Saturday night.
Passengers on U.S. Airways Flight 3668 said the plane was coming in around 11:30 p.m. when the pilot had to abort the landing. The pilot then circled the runway for about 30 minutes because the runway lights were not on.
People on board the plane told WAVY.com the ordeal was nerve-wracking.
"I thought we were in trouble," said Marianne Harris, a passenger on Flight 3668. "My heart was racing, and I really didn't know what was going on. And all the passengers were really concerned about it, too."
10 On Your Side spoke to airport spokesperson Jessica Wharton who said all the runway lights were checked and working fine on Saturday. Wharton said at night the runway lights turn off after 15 minutes, and pilots can turn them back on by radio. The U. S. Airways pilot was given a memo about the runaway light activation system and should have known to activate the runway lights, she said.
"Its seems to have been a pilot error and he did not turn the runway lights on," Wharton said. "We have radio operated radio LED lights, so the pilots after 11 p. m. actually operate the lights themselves. This is standard runway procedure that happens all over the country," .
The airport installed the radio activated LED runway lights six months ago, and Wharton said they have never had any problems like this before. Wharton said the pilot contacted an airport police officer who turned on the runway lights on by a remote. Airport officials said passengers were never in any harm.
A spokesperson with U.S. Airways said when the pilot tried to land, only some of the runway lights came on, and the pilot was uncomfortable landing. Wharton said airport administrators plan to follow up with U.S. Airways to learn more about what happened.
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