FAA investigating Harrison Ford for incident at California airport
Ford landed one of his plane on a taxiway
By: News Staff Posted: Feb 14, 2017 04:06 PM EST
NBC News has learned that actor Harrison Ford was involved in a potentially serious incident on Monday as he was piloting his private plane, a single engine Husky.
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 loaded with 110 passengers and a six-person crew.
The passenger plane, AA flight 1546, managed to depart safely for Dallas just minutes after the incident.
Ford, 74, was captured 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.
Landing on a taxiway is 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 anything from a simple warning letter to a suspension of Ford’s pilot’s license.
Ford has been involved in a series of crashes and near-misses while flying aircraft.
In 2015 he crash-landed a World War II-era airplane on a Santa Monica golf course after the engine failed, suffering a broken arm and minor head injuries.
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 was inducted as a Living Legend of Aviation.
A witness to Ford’s 2015 Santa Monica crash told NBC News that Ford "saved several lives" by rerouting his crash landing to the Penmar Golf Course to avoid a tract of suburban homes.
NBC News reached out to Ford’s representatives for comment, but did not immediately receive a reply.