Why the FAA did not penalize Harrison Ford

Ford and Hawthorne
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Harrison Ford has his 2nd FAA violation

This one a runway excursion at HHR

Remediation instead of Punishment–WHY

The general populace may assume preferable treatment[1] when  the FAA did not take any enforcement  action in response to Harrison Ford’s failure to comply with a controller’s direction at Hawthorne Airport.  That predisposition likely reflects an ignorance of the agency’s new philosophy : with inadvertent errors, remediation is a better tool to improve safety than punishment.


FORD'S Aviat A-1B Husky



Mr. Ford was required to complete a “remedial runway incursion training course”, which he evidently completed successfully thereafter.  The 78-year-old pilot knows where the FAA retraining FORDprograms are delivered; for, this is his second refresher course since his Santa Monica incident in 2017 (“awareness training” course”.)

The respondent, the FAA term used in enforcement cases has complied with his directive. There is some background about this Hollywood Star who is an Aviation Star, too. After the New York Times report, below, there is an aviation curriculum vitae for Mr. Ford ↓↓↓


F.A.A. Says Harrison Ford Can Continue Flying

After the actor went through remedial training, the agency said it had closed its investigation into a runway error he was involved in last April.

LOS ANGELES — The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Thursday that it had cleared Harrison Ford to continue flying, after the actor completed remedial training prompted by an incident in April when he had crossed a runway by accident.

Mr. Ford’s representatives said that on April 24, he had crossed the airport’s only runway in his aircraft after he misheard a radio instruction” from the control tower. “He immediately acknowledged the mistake and apologized for the error,” the representatives said in a statement.

The agency said it closed the case after Mr. Ford, 78, completed “a remedial runway incursion training course.” Under agency rules, Mr. Ford was allowed to keep piloting during the investigation; in August he flew his son Liam from California to Massachusetts for his return to Amherst College.

FIRD Flight to Amherst with Callista and Liam

Harrison Ford flies with wife Calista Flockhart and their son Liam to drop him off to college

A private pilot for more than 40 years, Mr. Ford has never been shy about admitting to errors. In February 2017, when he landed on a taxiway rather than the runway at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana — coming within 100 feet of a commercial airliner — he immediately radioed the tower at the California airport and acknowledged he was responsible.

Mr. Ford was also cleared to fly by the agency in that episode. The approval came after some fairly grueling interviews in which Mr. Ford was reported to have been humble and contrite. He was required to complete an “awareness training” course.

But that mistake, along with the one in April, when Mr. Ford crossed the runway at Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Los Angeles County despite having been told to “hold short” because of flight traffic, had some pilots wondering whether it was time to ground him.

Though many pilots agree that some people lose proficiency and “situational awareness” as they fly in their mid-70s, a process that higher insurance rates for older pilots make plain, most experts suggest allowing people to fly must be done on a case-by-case basis.

“Just like in the world of automobiles, not every octogenarian or nonagenarian should be behind the yoke, much less near an airport,” said Jeffrey Madison, the aviation safety columnist for General Aviation News. “And just as in the world of automobiles, there are plenty of anecdotes of sharp-minded pilots flying proficiently and consistently well into their late 80s or 90s.”

Mr. Ford is renowned as the intergalactic flyboy Han Solo and his celebrity inevitably entered the discussion of whether the F.A.A. has been rigorous in regulating his piloting. But Isabel Goyer, editor of Plane & Pilot, said she did not think that celebrity had gotten in the way.

Going Direct: Harrison Ford Is Getting Off Scott Free: Good.

FORD in Search and Rescue Helicopter

FORD in Search and Rescue Helicopter



AVIATION curriculum vitae↑↑↑.

(adapted from the 2011 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy Presentation)

While Harrison Ford is primarily known for his on-screen achievements, the aviation community has been the beneficiary of his life as an aviator, mentor, teacher, humanitarian and an inspirer. Ford has parlayed his passion for aviation and his concern for its future, along with his humanitarian and educational efforts, into a motivational leadership role that has unquestionably advanced and invested in America’s aviation’s future. An avid pilot and active member of the aviation community, his unswerving passion for aviation, combined with his global respect and visibility, have provided both the opportunity and platform from which he has been able to make a significant impact on something very important to him – aviation’s future. Ford’s outstanding and significant contributions include:

  • Aviation’s most prestigious award Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy

FORD with Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy






  • Served from 2004-2009 as the Chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s “Young Eagles” program. In this role, he motivated tens of thousands of volunteers to mentor and fly approximately 500,000 young people to the goal of giving children between the ages of 8 to 17 an opportunity to experience flight in a general aviation airplane while educating children about aviation. In addition to serving as Chairman, he personally flew over 280 “Young Eagles” in his aircraft.
FORD and 2 Millionth Young Eagle going for a flight

FORD and 2 Millionth Young Eagle going for a flight

  • The 2009 Living Legends of Aviation Award presented annually for having “made significant contributions to many areas of aviation including: innovators, record breakers, astronauts, aviation entrepreneurs, industry leaders and celebrity pilots.”


FORD and Living Legends






  • During the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, Ford joined with others in the aviation community in loading up his own Cessna Caravan airplane and personally piloting his aircraft to deliver medical supplies and medical personnel to the region.
  • Ford served as Honorary Chairman of the 2010 Special Olympics Airlift which utilizes business aircraft to fly Special Olympics to the games. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Airlift, he also personally flew Special Olympics athletes and coaches to the Games in Lincoln, Nebraska, this past summer.
  • Ford has also helped educate the public about the benefits of aviation through his efforts with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s “General Aviation Serves America” outreach program.
  • Harrison Ford, as a pilot, general aviation advocate, and actor, received the 2018 Hoover Trophy named for test pilot and aerobatic showman R.A. “Bob” Hoover, an aviation mentor who inspired countless others.

FORD and Hoover Trophy


  • For years, Ford has supported the Teton County and Lincoln County (Wyoming) Search and Rescue units by personally piloting missions into remote areas. His volunteer piloting work in this area resulted in two separate rescues.



Type Ratings: P/CE-525

Long before he was the pilot of the Millennium Falcon, Harrison Ford had an interest in flying. In the ‘60s he took aviation classes at the Wild Rose Airport in Wisconsin, but couldn’t afford the money for lessons. 50 years later, Ford became a pilot of both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. He has provided emergency helicopter services on several occasions, including one instance where he rescued a dehydrated hiker.

Ford owns eight aircraft, including a Bell 407 helicopter, a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver (a plane which he flies more than any other), a 1929-vintage Waco Taperwing, a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, a Beechcraft B36TC Bonanza, a Cessna Citation Sovereign, an Aviat A-1B Husky, and his green-colored private jet named Hans.


Actors benefit from the strength of their union, Equity; so the following titles are relevant to the FAA’s final action:  this case:

  • should not allow the FAA to refer back to Ford’s poor flying in Air Force One.

Just saying.

[1] The New York Times article, below, did not mention favoritism displayed towards this Hollywood Star.




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1 Comment on "Why the FAA did not penalize Harrison Ford"

  1. Nancy M Hackett | October 8, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Reply

    Very nice story, Sandy and Joe! I especially like the corny but funny last paragraph with Ford’s movie titles!

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