CLOSE CALL: Harrison Ford Nearly Hit A Passenger Jet
The famous actor was flying his private vintage plane over a passenger jet airline awaiting takeoff at a California airport on February 13, almost causing a large-scale disaster.
Indiana Jones-ing in real life
As a Boeing 737 was about to take off, Harrison Ford accidentally landed on a taxiway right next to it. Experts say this error could have caused a pretty dangerous sequence of events, and the actor may not be able to dodge some trouble with the law. Air traffic controllers gave permission to the famous actor to land his jet on a specific runway. For reasons known only to him, the actor disobeyed, and came down on the taxiway that is parallel to the runway he was supposed to land on. During this “stunt”, he flew over a huge Boeing 737 with over 100 people on it, which was on the taxiway with its pilots waiting for the last instructions before taking off.
Catastrophe luckily avoided
Experts and aviation engineers claimed that the specific incident was rather surprising and dangerous at the same time. Michael Barr, an aviation expert at the University of Southern California Aviation Safety and Security Program said this was a very high-risk situation, and stated that if Ford had delayed to land, the result would have been tragic.
Still, the pilot wasn’t publicly revealed
Aviation experts claimed that such a dangerous event had never taken place at a major US airport before. Several sources from the FAA suggested that Ford was the jet’s pilot during this dangerous landing. Even though FAA still did not officially reveal who the pilot was, the brief description claimed that the pilot was given permission to land his Aviat Husky on Runway 20L. Shortly after, he landed on a taxiway next to the runway he was supposed to land on, while beneath him there was a Boeing 737.
According to reports, the renowned actor didn’t even know if that Boeing 737 was supposed to be underneath him. This was revealed by a reliable source, who’s not allowed to reveal any more details though.
Barr, who has a 23-year-experience as a pilot said that once Harrison Ford saw the jet, he never should have landed. According to Barr’s statement, when a pilot sees a large airliner ahead of himself at 90 degrees, aborting the landing is the only right choice.
Has something similar happened before?
Airports like John Wayne rarely experience incidents of this sort, thanks to modern air traffic control technology. Back in 1991, a mistake made by the air traffic control center occurred at LA International Airport. On this occasion, a U.S.Air 737 landed on the wrong runway where a commuter plane by SkyWest was taxiing, which resulted in 23 fatalities on the jet and 12 more on the smaller aircraft.
Then, in 2006, a Continental Airlines 757 mistakenly landed on a taxiway at a New Jersey airport. This incident forced the airport to change the lighting. Safety Board investigation concluded that because of the lighting, the taxiway was brighter than a runway.
The actor might face penalties
The investigation is still in progress, as the Federal Aviation Administration is looking into this event. Ford, who is now 74 years old, has declined to comment on this incident, in which he clearly violated FAA regulations. If the actor finds himself penalized, he might face reprimand, suspension, retraining or even loss of his pilot’s license. The beloved “Star Wars” actor is now a subject of an FAA investigation because the incident happened while he was at the controls of a single-engine Aviat Husky.
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA, stated that ‘’any pilot who violates FAA regulations can face penalties ranging from a warning letter to suspending or even revoking the license.” Michael Barr added that FAA will have to do something about this incident, otherwise, it will look like they pardon him for being a celebrity. On the other hand, there are those who defend Ford. Kurt Knepper, an aviation attorney based in Orange County, said he hadn’t heard about a similar incident at this airport before, but added that there’s not enough space between runways and taxiways at John Wayne, contrary to other airports.
Mr. Knepper, whose work revolves around legal matters about pilots for FFA, claimed that the agency could have taken legal action, but they prefer corrective actions. Since this is an anomaly for an experienced pilot like Ford, what is most likely to happen, is that the actor will be asked to retrain when it comes to piloting, and he might get administrative probation.
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