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Harrison Ford under investigation by FAA for plane runway mishap

Harrison Ford faces an FAA investigation following an improper landing of his aircraft in California.
Harrison Ford faces an FAA investigation following an improper landing of his aircraft in California. Armando Gallo/ZUMA Studio

Harrison Ford is once again under investigation by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after the agency says a small, single-engine airplane landed on a runway where another aircraft was preparing to land.

The veteran actor, known for piloting the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars, was reportedly told to wait for another plane to make a touch-and-go landing before he stopped off at Hawthorne Municipal Airport in California, however he did not follow orders, according to the New York Times.

Instead of waiting his turn, Ford reportedly misheard his cue from the air traffic controller and prematurely pulled into the Los Angeles County airport at approximately 3:20 p.m. PST last Friday.

As a result, the 77-year-old got an earful — as heard in an audio recording from the air traffic controller’s tower. (Ford can be heard both apologizing and taking ownership of his error at the 22:05 timecode.)

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Harrison Ford toying with a model plane during a late-night ceremony at Pisani Moretta Palace following the presentation of his latest movie ‘Air Force One,’ Sept. 2 1997.
Harrison Ford toying with a model plane during a late-night ceremony at Pisani Moretta Palace following the presentation of his latest movie ‘Air Force One,’ Sept. 2 1997. Onorati/EPA

“Get across that runway now,” said the air traffic control worker. “I told you before to hold short. You need to listen up.”

“Excuse me, sir, I thought exactly the opposite. I’m terribly sorry,” replied Ford.

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Fortunately, the vessel flown by the Indiana Jones star — an Aviat Husky — was approximately 3,600 feet (1,100 metres) ahead of the other plane and was at no risk of resulting in a crash, the FAA told the BBC.

“He immediately acknowledged the mistake and apologized to ATC for the error,” a representative of Ford wrote in a statement.

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“The purpose of the flight was to maintain currency and proficiency in the aircraft,” the statement continued. “No one was injured, and there was never any danger of a collision.”

An Aviat A-1B made by Aviat Aircraft, which also made the Pitts Special, (above), also known as a Husky Pup.
An Aviat A-1B made by Aviat Aircraft, which also made the Pitts Special, (above), also known as a Husky Pup. Michael Cole/Corbis via Getty Images

Despite the low risk of danger brought on by the mishap, the FAA made the decision to investigate Ford.

And it’s not the aviation enthusiast’s first time being looked into by the agency.

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Back in 2017, Ford made a very similar error. He mistakenly landed on a taxiway at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif., instead of the runway and almost crashed into a Boeing 737 commercial airliner that had been carrying 100 passengers.

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Ford managed to avoid disciplinary action, however the FAA required him to complete awareness training.

Additionally, in March 2015, the Cowboys & Aliens star was injured when one of his many vintage aircraft — a Second World War plane — crashed onto a Santa Monica golf course.

Click to play video 'Airport security camera footage captures Harrison Ford’s near-miss at California airport' Airport security camera footage captures Harrison Ford’s near-miss at California airport
Airport security camera footage captures Harrison Ford’s near-miss at California airport

A witness told NBC News at the time that Ford had “saved several lives” by rerouting his plane away from a tract of suburban homes before he hit Penmar Golf Course.

Furthermore, in 2000, Ford’s six-seater Beechcraft Bonanza scraped the runway during an emergency landing at Nebraska’s Lincoln Municipal Airport. He also crash-landed a helicopter in 1999 during a flight lesson in Ventura Country, Calif.

With files from Global News’ Katie Scott

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adam.wallis@globalnews.ca