Harrison Ford Mistakenly Told Control Tower He Was Fyling a Helicopter Before Controversial Landing
Just 18 minutes after the transmission, the licensed pilot of many years accidentally maneuvered toward a taxiway rather than the runway he was cleared for
Harrison Ford is heard making mistakes during radio communication with air traffic control in the minutes leading up to his close call at a California airport earlier this week, when he nearly crashed into a passenger plane after erroneously landing in a taxiway instead of the runway he was cleared to use.
In newly released audio obtained by TMZ, the Star Wars legend is told his tail number, “Husky Niner Hotel Uniform,” and a personal code of 0214. However, Ford responds by stumbling over his words, telling the control tower that he was flying a helicopter rather than his single-engine plane.
The 74-year-old actor is also told his radio transmission was made to the wrong tower — rather than switching to the Los Angeles tower, he’s still communicating with the Santa Monica Airport from which he departed.
Just 18 minutes after the transmission, the licensed pilot of many years accidentally maneuvered toward a taxiway rather than the runway he was cleared to land on. His plane flew over an American Airlines departing flight with 110 passengers on board and a six-person crew. The Dallas-bound 737 aircraft was reportedly able to safely take off minutes after the incident.
The actor was also reportedly captured on air traffic control recordings asking, “Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?” Air traffic control then informed the actor that he inadvertently landed on a taxiway with awaiting aircraft instead of the runway he was instructed to head toward.
The American Airlines pilots were aware of the incident, prompting the airline to alert the FAA and NTSB. A spokesperson confirmed the FAA is opening an investigation into the incident.
“The FAA considers that a very major violation of the federal air regulations. They are going to go after him basically to take his license away. Fortunately for him, no one was hurt,” Captain Ross Aimer, a retired United Airlines pilot and CEO of Aero Consulting Experts, tells PEOPLE. (Aimer is not involved in the investigation.)
A rep for the actor had no comment.
Ford was seen boarding a plane at the Santa Monica Airport on Thursday, just days after the incident. Joined by a co-pilot, he took the captain’s seat of the Cessna 680 two-engine jet.
Ford has been involved in several piloting accidents in the past. The most serious was in 2015, when he crash-landed at a Santa Monica golf course after encountering engine trouble. Ford, who was flying a yellow vintage fighter plane, suffered a broken arm and lacerations to his scalp.