'Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?' Harrison Ford in plane near-miss

Star Wars actor emerges unscathed after narrowly missing 737 on runway in latest flying mishap

 Harrison Ford: ‘Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?’. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Harrison Ford: ‘Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?’. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

 

Harrison Ford, the actor known for his portrayal of a cocky smuggler and spacecraft pilot in the Star Wars movies, mistakenly flew a private plane over a commercial airliner carrying more than 100 people at a California airport on Monday, according to a news report.

Ford (74), an avid pilot and collector of vintage planes, had been instructed to land on a runway at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, California. He correctly read back the instructions but landed instead on a taxiway parallel to the runway. In doing so, he flew his plane, a single-engine Aviat Husky, over a 737 that was stopped just ahead of the runway.

NBC News, which reported on the episode, said Ford’s plane flew over an American Airlines jet with 110 passengers and a six-person crew. It was unclear how far above the airliner he was. NBC reported that Ford could be heard on air-traffic control recordings asking, “Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?”

For Ford, who played Han Solo, the swashbuckling pilot of the Millennium Falcon in the Star Wars movies, the errant landing was the second notable episode involving an aircraft he was piloting in nearly two years and the fourth since 1999.

A Federal Aviation Administration’s Pacific division confirmed most details of the episode and said that the agency was investigating it. No one was injured.

Harrison Ford crash-landed a second World War training plane on a Los Angeles golf course in 2015. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AFP
Harrison Ford crash-landed a second World War training plane on a Los Angeles golf course in 2015. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AFP

Ford is certified as a private pilot and is rated by the FAA to fly several types of aircraft, including a helicopter, according to agency records. He has been inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation and has an honour named after him, the Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award.

Other episodes involving Ford and aircraft

  • In March 2015, Ford was injured when a single-engine, World War II-era training plane he was piloting crashed onto a golf course in Venice, California, shortly after taking off from Santa Monica Airport. The plane had engine trouble on takeoff, and Ford was forced to make an emergency landing. He was “banged up” but walked away from the scene, his publicist said at the time.
  • In June 2000, while landing in Lincoln, Nebraska, a gust blew Ford’s plane from the runway. The aircraft, a Beechcraft Bonanza, suffered minor damage, and neither Ford nor his passenger were injured, AirSafe.com, a website about plane crashes, reported.
  • In October 1999 in Santa Clarita, California, Ford was on a training flight in a Bell 206 helicopter when he and the instructor made an emergency landing in a dry riverbed, according to AirSafe.com. Neither Ford nor the instructor were hurt, but the helicopter was substantially damaged. - (New York Times Service)