So, Harrison Ford almost died in a plane crash a few days ago. And by almost died, I mean crashed the plane into the ground and walked away from it. As you do, when you’re friggin Han Solo. I’ve heard so many stories over the years regarding celebrities who learn to fly a plane, because money and because private plane and because of the unyielding desire within people who become massively successful to reach for the stars, even if they’re already in space. I’ve heard a lot of stories about the tragedy that results when people take the laws of the natural world for granted. If you need to know how many people have died in plane crashes, check out this website, which shows every “famous” person who fell when their wings got too hot. I say “famous” not out of disrespect, but because this website lists anyone who could be famous to someone. I’ve never heard of half the names on this site, but I do know Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rich Snyder (former president of In-N-Out), Eduardo Mata, John Denver, JFK Jr., Jeffery Ethel (aviation writer – actually really ironic), a guy named Bruce friggin Wayne, Jim Croce, and a ludicrous amount of amazing rock artists.
Now don’t start quoting me when reporting your crackpot theories that air travel is some sort of government conspiracy to get people killed. Consumer air travel is completely fine and even more safe than walking down the street. Why? Because these pilots are rigorously trained, constantly monitored, and have a bajillion miles of air time before they start actually carting normal people around. Private pilots are still regulated and trained heavily, but they don’t get nearly as much practice as commercial pilots. Which is fine, they only have their own lives and possible, but hopefully not, their families lives in their hands.
But lest we lump Harrison in the same category, he proved to the world this week that he is, in fact, Han Solo. Even some guy named Bruce Wayne, who I’m convinced is the Batman we never got, was killed by the forces of gravity and malfunctioning machinery. But Harrison Ford? He’s perfectly fine. And probably saved a bunch of lives due to his brilliant piloting. So here’s the story. Harrison was taking a joy ride in his 1942 vintage airplane over Venice. Okay, that is enough to make me cringe. But I’ll go on. So as he was flying around the beautifully populated residential areas of Venice, California. And then his engine died for some reason we are still unaware of. At this point, Harrison realized he was proper screwed, and upon seeing a nearby golf course, proceeded to direct his plane to crash land on the golf course, not to protect himself necessarily, but to protect the rest of the population of Venice. By the way, just so you know the stakes, this is the immediate area around the golf course.
To be fair, the Santa Monica Airport is another few miles to the West, so he could possibly have been aiming for the airport, realized he wasn’t going to make it, and landed in the next best thing. But it appears that he landed a mere 20-30 yards from the edge of the golf course. If he hadn’t piloted as excellently as he did, he would have landed in someone’s house. After the crash, a few fellow golfers ran to help. Lucky for Harrison, they noticed that the plane was leaking fuel. The golfers kicked some dirt over the fuel to avoid a fire. Keep in mind, if he’d landed in a house, the plane would probably have exploded. The fuel leak could easily have been part of the engine failure. Once the golfers helped him out of the plane, the 72-year old was understandably shaken, but regained his consciousness quickly, and walked away from the crash, albeit immediately carted off to the hospital.
So once again, let’s make this clear. A 72-year old man, flying a vintage 1942 plane over Venice, California. His engine dies. He successfully navigates it into a golf course to save dozens of lives. He crash lands, leading to the mess shown above. Then he walks away, shaken, but otherwise okay, and then goes to the hospital with minor injuries. Harrison Ford is Han Solo. And we should all be thankful that this man is as much of a bad ass as he is.
Ironically enough, his kryptonite appears to be his own ship, the Millennium Falcon.