Where Was Chewie?
Harrison Ford Nearly Crashes Vintage Plane Into Passenger Jet
He piloted the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy and made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. But back on earth, Harrison Ford may have his wings clipped.
He steered the Millennium Falcon into warp speed through asteroid fields while TIE fighters were raining fire on his surprisingly resilient craft, but Harrison Ford has been notably less fortunate when it comes to flying more conventional airplanes back here on earth.
The 74-year old actor, who has had a series of aviation-related near-misses, was involved in another close shave Monday, when his vintage airplane came just yards from crashing into a Boeing 737 loaded with more than 100 passengers and six crew.
The passenger jet was waiting on a taxiway before takeoff at John Wayne Airport in California’s Orange County as Ford was coming in to land. Ford was supposed to land on the runway, but mistakenly touched down on the taxiway instead, passing just over the American Airlines flight.
The mistake is a serious violation of FAA safety rules.
Ford, 74, an experienced pilot, can be heard on air-traffic control recordings asking the tower, “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.
The FAA has now launched an investigation that could result in anything from a warning letter to Ford losing his licence, according to reports by NBC News.
However, TMZ reports Wednesday that the investigation is likely to be delayed due to a backlog of cases at the FAA.
The American Airlines flight, headed for Dallas, took off as planned just minutes after the incident.
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 golf course after the engine failed.
A witness to the crash told NBC News that the Star Wars actor “saved several lives” by rerouting his crash-landing to the Penmar Golf Course to avoid a tract of suburban homes.
The cool manner in which he dealt with that incident served to heighten his reputation as an excellent pilot in aviation circles. He has been inducted by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy as a Living Legend of Aviation.
The Santa Monica landing was not his first brush with disaster. He crash-landed a helicopter in 1999 during a flight lesson in Ventura County, California. And the following year, a six-seater aircraft being piloted by Ford scraped the runway during an emergency landing at Nebraska's Lincoln Municipal Airport. The plane’s wing reportedly struck the runway and was damaged, but Ford and his passenger were not hurt.