Harrison Ford’s John Wayne Airport Accident
Will likely serve as a platform for those who want to close or to limit airport operations
General Aviation accidents usually are not the stuff for national news or to be reported in The New York Times, but when Harrison Ford is involved, the event attracts more interest than usual.
The facts are simple. A 74 year old pilot flying his single engine Aviat Husky, registered to GBH Aviation, was instructed by controllers at John Wayne Airport to land on runway 20L.
Approaching the airport (SNA) which has two runways from the SSE, the pilot confused a smaller, unmarked “road” used to taxi planes to/from gates/hangars to the runways with the Runway on the Left. The intended “landing strip” is 2,887’ x 75’, marked (including stripes indicating where the plane is on the length remaining) and lighting. None of those identifiers are on the taxiway.
The airspace around SNA is extremely complicated; so even a seasoned pilot must concentrate carefully to get to the runway.
The Husky was flown onto the taxiway and the pilot has been quoted as saying, “Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?” Indeed, it was an American Airlines B-737.
This incident will likely serve as a platform for those, who want to close or to limit John Wayne’s operations, to renew their campaigns. Surely, the folks at SMO will cite Mr. Ford’s taxiway landing as another reason to close the Santa Monica Airport. Aviation professionals should be prepared to respond to such calumny.
For clearly, this case:
- was not a Clear and Present Danger.
- is one in which Ford must be Presumed Innocent by the FAA.
- does not require the FAA to take any Extraordinary Measures.
- should not allow the FAA to refer back to Ford’s poor flying in Air Force One.