Harrison Ford is best known for playing a brash pilot in a galaxy far, far away in the Star Wars saga, but in real life, the actor is an accomplished pilot who collects vintage planes. Back in March 2015, Harrison Ford made headlines when he somehow managed to survive a plane crash, after making an emergency landing on a Los Angeles golf course. Today we have word that the actor almost had another close call in Southern California, this time narrowly missing a 737 airliner in an incident that could have been much more serious.
NBC News first reported on this incident, which took place at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County. The actor was instructed to land his single-engine Husky aircraft on runway 20-L, but instead, he mistook a taxiway for that runway, as his plane flew over an American Airlines 737 airliner. The actor was recorded on air traffic control recordings after the incident, stating this.
"Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?"
Air traffic controllers then told the actor that he had landed on a taxiway, and not the runway he was instructed to land on. Landing on a taxiway is a violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. The air traffic controllers told NBC News that they gave the celebrated actor the proper landing instructions, and that he repeated them back. The 737 airliner, American Airlines flight 1546 to Dallas, Texas, with 110 passengers and six crew members, departed safely just a few minutes after the incident.
This incident has prompted an FAA investigation, which could result in punishment ranging from a simple warning letter, to a suspension of his pilot's license. It remains to be seen how long the investigation will take, and if there will be any consequences handed down from this incident. The 74-year-old actor reportedly trained to become a pilot in the 1950s, and while he is a respected and talented pilot, he has had a few other brushes with death in the skies, even before the 2015 golf course crash.
In 1999, Harrison Ford crash-landed a helicopter in Ventura County, California, during a training flight with an instructor, and then in 2000, he was forced to make an emergency landing at the Lincoln Municipal Airport in Nebraska. While neither he nor his passenger was hurt in that 2000 emergency landing, the plane's wing tips clipped the runway, causing damage to the plane. He has also used his piloting skills during two search and rescue missions near his temporary home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In 2000, he rescued a dehydrated hiker he found at Table Mountain in Teton County, Wyoming, and flew her to the hospital, and in just a year later in 2001, the iconic actor spotted a 13-year-old Boy Scout who was lost outside Yellowstone National Park, while flying his helicopter. Hopefully we'll have more on this latest aerial incident with Harrison Ford soon.