Harrison Ford “The Schmuck” Apologized For Gaffe


Harrison Ford was contrite and apologized to air traffic controllers at John Wayne Airport in Orange County last Feb. 13. The FAA released tapes of two radio exchanges and one phone call between Ford and John Wayne tower personnel on Friday. “I’m the schmuck who landed on the taxiway,” Ford told tower personnel in a phone call shortly after putting his Husky down on Taxiway Charlie instead of Runway 20L as cleared. “I landed on Charlie?” he asks incredulously when a controller gives him the bad news after he cleared, by less than 100 feet, an American Airlines Boeing 737 holding short of the runway Ford was supposed to use. The cool-as-a-cucumber controller tells Ford to keep taxiing on the taxiway to an intersection and hold where he’s asked to copy down the phone number for the tower to discuss a “possible pilot deviation.” He’s then cleared to the FBO.

During the call to the tower, Ford has to dig through his backpack to find his pilot certificate and the FAA employee tells him the delay “is not a big deal” and to take his time. “It’s a big deal to me,” said Ford. The actor and longtime pilot tells the tower man by way of explanation that he was distracted by the airliner turning to hold short of the runway and by the turbulence from an Airbus that just landed. He apologized several times to the tower worker. There is also tape of a phone call from the captain of the 737 that Ford overflew who told a tower staffer that he was compelled to report the incident. He also pointed out that the tail of his aircraft is 42 feet tall in reference to his perception of how close Ford came to his aircraft. The pilot is assured the FAA is looking into the incident and that the Husky was not cleared to land on the taxiway.