While it may sound like a scene from one of Harrison Ford’s action films, a 13 February 2017 incident in which he nearly collided with a passenger jet at an airport in Santa Ana, California was very real.
The Federal Aviation Administration does not identify people involved in the incidents it is investigating, but media reports have identified the actor (perhaps best known as either the actor who plays the eponymous Indiana Jones or as Han Solo, Ford’s long-running “Star Wars” character) as the pilot of a single-engine plane that flew over the top of an American Airlines 737 as it prepared to take off. According to the FAA, the pilot of the private plane was given correct instructions:
Air traffic controllers cleared the pilot of a single-engine Aviat Husky to land on Runway 20L at John Wayne Airport Monday afternoon. The pilot correctly read back the clearance. The pilot then landed on a taxiway that runs parallel to the runway, overflying a Boeing 737 that was holding short of the runway. The FAA is investigating this incident.
NBC News reports that the jet had 110 passengers and six crew on board. No one was hurt, and the flight departed safely for Dallas. For Ford, who is generally regarded as an experienced and skilled pilot, it was the second incident in as many years. In 2015, he was credited by a witness with saving lives by managing to maneuver a vintage aircraft with engine failure into a Santa Monica golf course shortly after takeoff instead of colliding with homes. Ford was injured in the crash.
The “Indiana Jones” actor appears to have a life as storied as the adventurers he plays on the big screen. He is reported to have rescued stranded hikers in his own helicopter.
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.
According to NBC News, the FAA’s investigation of the incident could result in anything from a warning letter to a suspension of Ford’s pilot license.