Harrison Ford confessed to being a “schmuck” after he was involved in a near miss with a Boeing plane at a California airport last month (Feb17).
The 74-year-old was told to land his single-engine plane on Runway 20L at John Wayne Airport in Orange County on 13 February (17), but he instead landed on a parallel taxiway.
His plane flew low over an American Airlines Boeing 737 that was on the taxiway, waiting to take off, with 116 people on board. The flight departed safely for Dallas a few minutes after the incident.
Recordings of Ford’s conversations with air-traffic controllers were released on Friday (24Mar17) by the Federal Aviation Administration, and they reveal the Star Wars actor was distracted and concerned about turbulence from another aircraft.
“I’m the schmuck who landed on the taxiway,” he told an air traffic controller shortly after the near miss.
Footage from the incident was released last month (Feb17), and shows Ford’s Aviat Husky plane descending toward the airfield where the Boeing is slowly taxiing.
“Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?” Ford asked the air traffic control tower. “Oh. I landed on Taxiway Charlie. I understand now. Sorry for that.”
In a phone call with an air traffic controller after the near miss, the actor said he “got distracted by the airliner” and also mentioned “big turbulence” from another plane that was landing.
An air traffic controller then told the Indiana Jones star to take his time getting the number from his pilot’s licence, and added that it wasn’t a big deal.
“It’s a big deal for me,” Ford replied.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said an investigation into the incident is still underway. Landing on a taxiway, instead of a runway, is a violation of regulations.