SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Actor Harrison Ford will not face any fines or other punitive action after his close call at John Wayne Airport earlier this year, a spokesman said Monday.
An attorney for the “Star Wars” actor said after a full investigation by the FAA, Ford will retain his pilot’s license “without restriction” despite mistakenly flying low over an airliner with 110 people aboard at the airport on Feb. 13.
American Airlines Flight 1456 departed safely for Dallas a few minutes later.
A statement from the FAA said the agency has “completed its investigation”. The agency does not comment on cases “involving individual airmen”, officials said.
“In closing the matter, the agency acknowledged Mr. Ford’s long history of compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations and his cooperative attitude during the investigation,” said attorney Stephen Hofer, president of the Aerlex Law Group in a statement. “Mr. Ford has held a pilot’s certificate for more than 20 years, has logged more than 5,000 hours in the air, and has never been the subject of an FAA administrative or enforcement action.”
John Wayne Airport tower Manager Irene Willard told Capt. Edward Patton, who had been piloting the flight, that air traffic controllers believed the Husky was “less than 100 feet” above the airliner.
Patton said he overheard the air traffic controller talking to a Husky and that he thought he was looking forward to seeing the aircraft because many don’t come to John Wayne Airport.
“The tail of my airplane is 42 feet tall,” Patton said to Willard. “You get an idea of how close we were.”
“I’m the schmuck that landed on the taxiway,” Ford was heard telling the tower in audiotapes released in late March. The actor mentioned he had become distracted by the airliner and the wake turbulence from the landing Airbus.
Ford collects vintage planes and has been a pilot for years. But he has had several close calls and was seriously injured in March 2015 when his World War II-era trainer crashed on a golf course alongside Santa Monica Airport. In 1999, Ford crashed a helicopter during a training session in Ventura County.