Editor’s Note: This letter is from the Santa Monica Airport Association, an all-volunteer organization that conducts activities and projects that promote and improve General Aviation and the Santa Monica Municipal Airport.
Actor and pilot Harrison Ford is good condition and resting comfortably after losing engine power shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica Airport on Thursday, March 5.
He immediately radioed the airport that he was returning for landing. Although the Santa Monica Airport tower cleared the runway for his return, it appears that Ford did not have enough altitude to fly to the runway and he was forced to set the plane down on the Penmar Golf Course in Los Angeles.
Santa Monica Airport Association Vice-President Christian Fry was nearby and was able to talk to the emergency personnel and view the landing site.
“It was not a crash,” Fry said “It appears that Ford had some sort of engine trouble during takeoff. When he didn’t have enough altitude to make it to the runway, he made a beautifully executed forced landing.” Fry added.
“From the first days of pilot training, pilots are taught to always be prepared for emergencies in the air and to have alternate landing spots in mind in case something unexpected should happen. In addition, the FAA requires all pilots to take recurrent training reinforcing emergency preparedness. The beauty of Santa Monica Airport is that we fly over Penmar Golf Course that runs parallel to our main runway. This provides an ideal alternate open landing space. Really just a great job by a well-trained pilot.” Fry concluded.
Santa Monica Airport Association