By Mike Adams | Natural News
Flying a vintage aircraft that apparently lost power, Harrison Ford saved his own life by doing precisely what all pilots are trained to do in the event of a power loss: control the plane’s descent to make a non-powered landing that you can walk away from.
And that’s precisely what Harrison Ford just did, as this YouTube video clearly shows. Although Ford reportedly suffered injuries, he was apparently able to walk away from the accident on his own two feet, with the help of others nearby.
While YouTubers who have never flown small aircraft are quick to leap to false conclusions with statements like “Small aircraft are dangerous to fly!”, the truth is that Harrison Ford just proved why small aircraft are so remarkably safe when piloted by someone who is adequately trained and experienced.
The FAA requires ALL small aircraft pilots to undergo extensive training in emergency landing procedures.
Why Harrison Ford did all the rights things
If you examine the photo of the aircraft, there are several very important things to notice:
• It’s clear the aircraft experienced a loss of primary engine power. This is the most common emergency scenario for which small aircraft pilots are repeatedly trained. For pilots who are certified by the FAA, the process of gliding the aircraft into an emergency descent becomes second nature.
• Ford was able to control the aircraft’s descent into what appears to be a narrow clearing in a public park dotted with many trees and fences (perhaps baseball backstops?). The skill required to pick out such a landing spot upon power failure — and glide your aircraft to that landing spot — is precisely what pilots gain when undergoing FAA pilot training.
• The airplane shows no apparent damage whatsoever to the wings, ailerons, tail or elevators. This indicates Ford was able to maintain aircraft pitch, roll, yaw and air speed in a very narrow window of relative safety. Once again, excellent training pays off. The photos show Ford did all the right things and controlled the aircraft while throwing off kinetic energy at a slow enough pace to preserve his own life.
• The only apparent damage to the plane is noticeable on the engine cowling, and this is entirely expected in an emergency landing where the landing gear are stripped off by the soft ground, causing what’s called a “prop strike” to occur, where the propeller digs into the ground. This prop strike causes a strong forward pivot of the entire engine, which is likely what caused the apparent damage to the engine cowling. (This plane will likely never be certified to fly again, but Harrison Ford will!)
• Due to his training, Ford was able to avoid the plane digging its nose into the ground and flipping vertically, tail over nose. So-called “soft field landings” always present a risk of tail-over-nose flips if the pilot is not sufficiently trained or experienced in such landings. Once again, Ford did all the right things to avoid such a problem.
• Additionally, Ford was apparently able to guide the plane into a controlled emergency landing in a way that avoided causing injury to other innocent people on the ground. Again, this is due entirely to his training and experience. Clearly there were people nearby, yet Ford was able to completely avoid them, even though his cockpit position in the aircraft does not afford him much visibility at all.
• On the issue of visibility, notice that Ford’s aircraft is a “low wing” plane, meaning the wings are mounted below the seated position of the pilot. This stands in contrast to “high wing” aircraft such as Cessnas which offer far better visibility of the ground during emergency landings. Successfully landing a low-wing aircraft on a soft field during an emergency loss of power requires considerable skill and strong command over the aircraft.
Above all, this incident reinforces two things:
1) Trained pilots make small aircraft remarkably safe to fly, even in emergency situations.
2) Harrison Ford’s training paid off in saving his own life and preventing the loss of life for innocents on the ground.
In fact, having seen how he handles this controlled descent with such expertise and skill, I would gladly fly with Harrison Ford any day!
This article originally appeared on Natural News.