Harrison Ford, Please Leave The Flying to the Pros
14 Feb, 2017
Actor Harrison Ford was involved in a potentially serious incident Monday in California as he was piloting his private plane, a single-engine Husky, NBC News has learned.
Ford, an experienced pilot who collects vintage planes, had been instructed to land on runway 20-L at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, but mistakenly aimed for a taxiway, instead. His plane passed over the top of an American Airlines 737 carrying 110 passengers and a six-person crew.
The passenger plane, AA Flight 1456, managed to depart safely for Dallas just minutes after the incident.
Ford, 74, was heard on air traffic control recordings asking, “Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?”
Air traffic controllers then informed Ford that he had landed on a taxiway rather than the runway — a violation of Federal Aviation Administration safety rules.
The FAA told NBC News that controllers gave Ford the proper landing instructions and that he read them back.
The incident has prompted an FAA investigation — which could result in a simple warning letter to a suspension of Ford’s pilot’s license.
Ford has been involved in a series of crashes and near-crashes while flying aircraft.
In 2015, he crash-landed a World War II-era airplane on a Santa Monica, California, golf course after the engine failed.
He also crash-landed a helicopter in 1999 during a flight lesson in Ventura County, California. And in 2000, Ford’s six-seater Beechcraft Bonanza scraped the runway during an emergency landing at Nebraska’s Lincoln Municipal Airport.
But Ford is revered as an excellent pilot in aviation circles. He has been inducted by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy as a Living Legend of Aviation.