Harrison Ford in a 'near-miss' with airliner

File photo of actor Harrison Ford flying his helicopter in 2001. The Hollywood star was involved in a near-miss at a California airport on Feb 14, 2017 as he was piloting his private plane.
File photo of actor Harrison Ford flying his helicopter in 2001. The Hollywood star was involved in a near-miss at a California airport on Feb 14, 2017 as he was piloting his private plane.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • Hollywood star Harrison Ford was involved in a near-miss at a California airport as he was piloting his private plane, officials and United States media said on Tuesday.

Ford, a seasoned pilot and vintage plane collector, was approaching John Wayne Airport in Orange County, NBC reported, when he headed towards a taxiway rather than the runway, passing over a Boeing 737 with 110 passengers and six crew.

The 74-year-old was captured on air traffic control recordings, according to NBC, asking: "Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?"

The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) said it did not identify people involved in air incidents, but confirmed it was investigating what had caused the misunderstanding.

"Air traffic controllers cleared the pilot of a single-engine Aviat Husky to land on Runway 20L at John Wayne Airport on Monday afternoon," spokesman Ian Gregor said in a statement. "The pilot correctly read back the clearance. The pilot then landed on a taxiway that runs parallel to the runway, overflying a Boeing 737 that was holding short of the runway."

The American Airlines plane managed to depart safely for Dallas just minutes after the incident, according to NBC. The FAA prohibits aircraft landing on taxiways and sanctions for pilots found at fault range from a warning letter to suspension of their licence.

Ford suffered a broken arm and minor head injuries when he crash-landed a World War II plane on a Santa Monica golf course two years ago, after the carburetor failed. He also crash-landed a helicopter during a flying lesson in Ventura County, California, in 1999 and, a year later, his Beechcraft Bonanza scraped the runway during an emergency landing in Nebraska.

He suffered a broken leg three years ago on the set of the Millennium Falcon spaceship after he was pinned down by the heavy metal-framed door while on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

He owns several aircraft and claims more than 5,200 hours in his log book. He is certified to fly and land planes, seaplanes and helicopters, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2017, with the headline 'Harrison Ford in a 'near-miss' with airliner'. Print Edition | Subscribe