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  • OT - Harrison Ford pilot error

    I am hesitant to bring up yet another OT topic, there have been so many lately, but I value and respect the informed opinions of you guys here, particularly so many with aviation experience. Aaand... I am weary and infuriated by the news coverage and wish to vent.

    Harrison Ford and his obvious landing error has been screamed across the news headlines for almost 3 days now. The news anchors and headline writers seem nearly hysterical in comparison to the aviation "experts" that they have interviewed.

    The way I viewed the videos, Ford would have passed physically closer to the nose of the airliner if he had landed on the numbers of the assigned runway, than he did passing over top of the airliner. Less safe, to be sure, as there would be less direct visibility under the plane, with possibly more potential for catastrophic error, but still with a considerable margin.

    When I was learning to fly, the Navy flying club planes were instructed by the tower to land on the parallel taxiway at NAS Albany, over the top of a large TAXIWAY sign, rather than the main runway. Instructed to take off from there also. Unusual procedure, but it gave me some perspective into the setting of Ford's error. No big deal, but worthy of a reprimand. I suppose had it been a person of less celebrity we would have heard nothing of this.

    Other opinions?
    Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
    ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

  • #2
    Yes bad, but it happens. Happens to airline pilots also... even landing at the wrong airport. Probably happened at several USA airports today, but... celebrity means the news gets hold of it and makes it "important".

    I've had my share of "mistakes" at unfamiliar airports. If it was "familiar" to Harrison, then there's more to the story.
    Last edited by lakeside53; 02-22-2017, 07:45 PM.

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    • #3
      Shakespeare wrote about this in 1599...

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      • #4
        Watching the news is the equivalent of the village idiot grabbing a speakerphone and talking about things he knows nothing about. Harrison Ford exhibited piss poor situational awareness, but his mistake is common. Some airports, the taxiways look like runways.

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        • #5
          "I am weary and infuriated by the news coverage..."

          There is an easy fix for that. I have no idea what you are talking about, did not even know Harrison Ford had a pilot's license. Cut yourself off from the 'news'. You don't need it.

          allan

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          • #6
            I've landed on lots of taxiways but always on purpose. Usually because the crosswind was so bad on the only runway. Also landed on the grass next to a runway many times.
            I feel sorry for Harrison. He has been a good spokesman for general aviation.
            I have probably done dumber things but not with high visibility.
            I hope he gets away with a short suspension at most.
            Bill
            I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by elf View Post
              Shakespeare wrote about this in 1599...
              It finally came to me: Much Ado About Nothing.

              Indeed.
              Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
              ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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              • #8
                Very recently two CF-18 Hornet Canadian fighter jets tried to land at a closed airport in Florida. The airport has been closed for 7 years and they were at the point of gear down.

                This was just over a week ago:

                http://news.nationalpost.com/news/ca...ted-since-2010
                Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                • #9
                  Yeah, just two weeks ago, two Canadian CF18's almost landed at an abandoned airport before the tower at the correct airport told them they were at the wrong one. Probably not the first time for that problem to occur either...

                  doh, replied and took too long to post, someone sniped me!

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                  • #10
                    Were large 'Xs" visible on each end of the Florida runway?

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                    • #11
                      There is a rather dark X at one end and the other end is torn up as they are tearing out the runway. But it is only about 1.5 miles from an almost identical but longer runway and about 5 miles from Tyndall AFB.
                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                      • #12
                        They redid the runway at C91 Dowagiac a few years ago was rearing up the runway with dozers, big Xs on the runway & I sat in my hanger door relaxing as a cessna 210 landed on what was left just missing the dozer then got stuck in the sand where the pavement was gone. He was very embarrassed but had his family in there with him. Talk about pilot error. I used to fly right before dark after work landing right into the sun & wore cheap sunglasses & at South Haven once set up for the taxiway but something just wasn't right & caught it before I landed. I bought a good set after that I don't care what ZZ Top said. Many time with an old taildragger I've landed or taken off on a taxiway on purpose, it's pretty common. I like those land on one wheel landings in a crosswind or pulling one float out of the water to get to T/O speed. The smoother the water the harder it is to take off.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by flylo View Post
                          They redid the runway at C91 Dowagiac a few years ago was rearing up the runway with dozers, big Xs on the runway & I sat in my hanger door relaxing as a cessna 210 landed on what was left just missing the dozer then got stuck in the sand where the pavement was gone. He was very embarrassed but had his family in there with him. Talk about pilot error. I used to fly right before dark after work landing right into the sun & wore cheap sunglasses & at South Haven once set up for the taxiway but something just wasn't right & caught it before I landed. I bought a good set after that I don't care what ZZ Top said. Many time with an old taildragger I've landed or taken off on a taxiway on purpose, it's pretty common. I like those land on one wheel landings in a crosswind or pulling one float out of the water to get to T/O speed. The smoother the water the harder it is to take off.
                          When they re-paved the taxiway at Fort Lauderdale International, it looked identical to the runway next to it. Once, when I was a brand new private pilot, I entered a traffic pattern for a closed airport located a mile within 6B9. Didn't last long when I noticed the X's and big burns of dirt on the closed runway.
                          Flying into El Paso, well, one just needs to look at an approach chart to see what not to do. Very easy to mistake the military base for the airport if you decided to ignore all the tools at your disposal in the cockpit. Ahem... Atlas, and Southwest to name two out of many!(not at El Paso, but elsewhere)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kitno455 View Post
                            There is an easy fix for that. I have no idea what you are talking about, did not even know Harrison Ford had a pilot's license. Cut yourself off from the 'news'. You don't need it.
                            Exactly. Who's Harrison Ford?

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                            • #15
                              What's a bit more worrying is the radio recording, which shows he was confused about whether he was flying his aeroplane or his helicopter. He was obviously not in a good place mentally that day, poor bloke.
                              I too was once within a whisker of landing on the wrong bit of grass at a controlled airport. Embarrassing, to say the least.
                              Last edited by Mike Burch; 02-23-2017, 03:56 AM.

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