Actor Harrison Ford was involved in a potentially serious incident Monday in California as he was piloting his private plane, a single-engine Husky, NBC News has learned.
Ford, an experienced pilot who collects vintage planes, had been instructed to land on runway 20-L at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, but mistakenly aimed for a taxiway, instead. His plane passed over the top of an American Airlines 737 carrying 110 passengers and a six-person crew.
The passenger plane, AA Flight 1456, managed to depart safely for Dallas just minutes after the incident.
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Ford, 74, was heard on air traffic control recordings asking, "Was that airliner meant to be underneath me?"
Air traffic controllers then informed Ford that he had landed on a taxiway rather than the runway — a violation of Federal Aviation Administration safety rules.
The FAA told NBC News that controllers gave Ford the proper landing instructions and that he read them back.
The incident has prompted an FAA investigation — which could result in a simple warning letter to a suspension of Ford's pilot's license.
In 2015, he crash-landed a World War II-era airplane on a Santa Monica, California, golf course after the engine failed.
He also crash-landed a helicopter in 1999 during a flight lesson in Ventura County, California. And in 2000, Ford's six-seater Beechcraft Bonanza scraped the runway during an emergency landing at Nebraska's Lincoln Municipal Airport.
But Ford is revered as an excellent pilot in aviation circles. He has been inducted by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy as a Living Legend of Aviation.
A witness to Ford's 2015 Santa Monica crash told NBC News that Ford "saved several lives" by rerouting his crash landing to the Penmar Golf Course to avoid a tract of suburban homes.
NBC News asked Ford's representatives for comment but didn't immediately get a formal response.
See more on NBC's Nightly News.
Tom Costello is an NBC News correspondent based in Washington, D.C.
Mary Emily O'Hara
Mary Emily O'Hara is a freelance journalist living in Portland, Oregon. Her news and culture writing has been published by NBC News, Rolling Stone, MTV News, The Daily Beast, Teen Vogue, and more.