Harrison Ford’s Aviation History: An Investigation

Posted: February 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

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(BBC) – US actor Harrison Ford has been involved in a near-miss while flying his plane in California, US media say. They say Ford, aged 74, was instructed to land on a runway at John Wayne airport in Orange Country on Monday. But instead he mistakenly landed on a parallel taxiway, passing over a waiting American Airlines plane with 110 passengers and crew on board. That plane safely departed minutes later. Ford has not commented on the reported incident. Just before the landing, the Indiana Jones star is quoted as asking air traffic controllers: “Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?” The Federal Aviation Authority confirmed that the pilot of the single-engine Aviat Husky plane had been cleared to land on the runway. But it declined to confirm that the pilot was in fact Harrison Ford. The incident was first reported by NBC and the TMZ website. The actor, who is a certified pilot, has been involved in several air accidents. In 2015, he was injured when his vintage plane crashed on a golf course in Los Angeles. In 1999, Ford crash-landed his helicopter during a training flight in Los Angeles but both he and the instructor were unhurt. He has been in accidents out of the cockpit too, breaking his leg in 2014 while filming a scene involving a door on the Millennium Falcon spaceship.

Crash a plane once, shame on you. Crash a plane twice in 24 months, well, shame on me.

Clearly not a saying that Harrison Ford has ever heard. And who could blame him? He’s an all time great actor, rich beyond his wildest dreams, and a world class cocksman. The man has it all, so of course he thinks he can fly planes. Even after crashing once. Guys like him shoot themselves out of slumps.

But when you really take the time to think about it, shouldn’t we have seen this coming?

I know what you’re thinking. Well duh. The guy got into an airplane accident less than two years ago. Of course we should have seen this coming. But no, that’s not what I’m talking about. I looked deeper, way back into this man’s history. And the results I found were astonishing.

After a long hour of research, and countless minutes of dissecting through data, I’ve come to a conclusion…

Harrison Ford has put himself and others in increasingly dangerous situations in the air since his first on-screen flight in 1980. He’s been reckless in his behavior and had multiple brushes with serious injury or death prior to his first off-screen plane crash in 1999.

Before you jump to Mr. Ford’s defense, allow me to present you with the evidence of his erratic history with aviation.

 

1980: Navigating the asteroid field in Empire Strikes Back

These were the good times. Before the decline. Han Solo is one of the smoothest characters in the history of cinema. Men want to be him and women want to be with him. He was a thief and a scoundrel, but I’ll be damned if he wasn’t one of the best pilots in the galaxy. I mean, the guy made the freakin’ Kessel Run on the Millennium Falcon in under 12 parsecs. He was a cocky asshole and you hated him, but he was loyal and always ready to stick it to the Empire, so you loved him at the same time.

Nothing exemplified Han Solo’s skills in the cockpit more than his escape from the Empire through an asteroid field. He was ziggin, he was zaggin. He went up like a beam of light, then would drop down like a man on fire. The storm trooper pilots didn’t stand a chance, and Han eventually lost them. I’ll dock him some points for landing in a giant beasts esophagus and hanging for an hour or so before realizing it. That’s bush league. But he escaped yet again and got the job done, as he always did.

But as we’ll come to find out, this was a mere blip on the radar. A good needle in a stack of bad hay.

Really too bad he got killed by his own son.

Oh, spoiler alert ^.

 

1984: Escaping A Crashing Plane in Temple of Doom

A mere four years after his peak flying capabilities. There he was, Indiana, relaxing on a flight in the skies over China after escaping the clutches of Lao Che. He, Short Round, and Willie Scott popped a couple ambien and were KO’d while the pilots ditched the flight and left them in a downward spiraling plane. Indiana tried to fly the plane, but the three were forced to make a daring exit by jumping out with an inflatable raft to a cushy landing on a snowy mountain.

This is more along the lines of Harrison Ford in real life. Getting to the cockpit and saying, “How hard can it be?” Only to realize that not everyone is cut out to be a pilot. At least Indy had the common sense to bail on the plane before it crashed.

For the sake of argument, let’s chalk this one up to bad luck or low T. Sometimes you fall asleep on a plane and your pilots jump out. Happens to the best of us. I won’t hold it against him.

But wait…there’s more!

 

1989: Crashing a biplane with his dad in The Last Crusade

Hmm. Another crashed plane just five years later? Let’s look at how this one happened.

Indy was in the midst of his final crusade to capture the Holy Grail before the Nazis. He was finally united with his father, and they had just escaped Castle Brunwald on a zeppelin (hmmm a German zeppelin? Shocked there was trouble). But they were forced to escape even further on the little biplane with the Luftwaffe hot on their tails.

They get hit and have to make a controlled crash landing. Again, eerily similar to Harrison Ford’s real life flying experiences.

I’m sensing a trend here…

 

1997: Air Force One – hijacked by Russians and crash landing

President James Marshall’s plane, Air Force One, was hijacked just after taking off from Moscow by Russian radicals who wanted the freedom of their beloved General Radak. Over the next two hours, hostages are killed, situation rooms are occupied, and a young me becomes seriously afraid of bearded men with aggressive eastern European accents.

Now, clearly the President isn’t responsible for flying the plane. So we don’t get to see Harrison Ford behind the controls and checking altitude levels. But we are faced with the harsh reality that this man continues to find himself on crashing planes! Luckily, the Air Force came to the rescue and Jim Marshall was able to escape right before the plane crashed into the ocean, killing that fucking weasel Gibbs who set the whole thing up. Traitor.

(Obviously I can’t talk about Air Force One without linking one of the most badass delivered lines in movie history…)

 

So what have we learned? Well, we’ve learned that as a young man in Star Wars, Harrison Ford was a top-notch pilot. One of the best in the galaxy. He could cruise his way out of the most impossible situations, strictly based on talent alone. He was like a pitcher who has a 100 MPH fastball and a 12-6 curve. Whatever you had, he had better. He was the best and everyone knew it.

But then as he gets older, we start to see a change. Things that he could get away with before ended up coming back to bite him. He lost his fastball, and it started to unravel.

Falling asleep during his escape from China? Someone took his foot off the gas pedal a bit. That’s just lack of film study. You don’t trust a Chinese pilot in China when you just escaped captivity. Day 1 stuff really.

Getting shot down by a Nazi Luftwaffe? He lost a step. The physical decline had begun. Moves he could make as a young pilot on Tatooine were being stopped by the most mediocre defense.

Needing the Air Force to bail you out of a little Russian hijacking? Really hurts to see stars who once dominated the game needing help from the young guys to eek out a win. Like watching Tim Duncan miss dunks and get blocked by guards over the last two years. Sure, the Spurs won, but seeing Duncan age every game was ugly. Same with Harrison Ford. The way he jumped out of Air Force One like a brittle old man was painful to watch. A legend was no more.

And finally, the last two years crashing two separate planes in LA. As the great Harvey Two-Face once said,

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

I can’t think of a more heroic way to die than saving the lives of your family and colleagues from Russian terrorists as the sitting President of the United States.

I’m not saying it should  have happened, but watching Harrison Ford’s sharp and steep decline from eliteness by way of aviation hiccups on and off screen is like a Greek tragedy. A really long, drawn out Greek tragedy with very old language that I really don’t want to read any more of.

Hang up the wings, man. Your time has passed.

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