Some FAA Inspectors Grouse
Harrison Ford should have been forced to re-prove himself as a pilot … according to some FAA investigators who feel the actor got off too easy for his taxiway landing.
Ford was cleared Monday by the FAA for the February mishap in which he buzzed a 737 jet and put his single engine plane down on the taxiway at John Wayne International Airport in Orange County, CA.
Sources familiar with the situation tell TMZ the FAA inspector and managers who made the decision were unanimous … no discipline or further action was appropriate.
We’re told not everyone at the Agency agreed — some aviation inspectors feel 74-year-old Harrison should have been ordered to take what’s called a "709 ride" … where an inspector re-examines a pilot’s skills.
The feeling is Harrison might have gotten preferential treatment because he’s a celebrity, but his lawyer, Steve Hofer, tells TMZ Ford was put through the ringer, and any notion of preferential treatment is ridiculous.
Hofer says Ford went for a meeting at the FAA with multiple inspectors and was grilled. He was asked "hard questions" and shown video, computer simulations, radar data and listened to audio of the incident … and faced questions about his decisions.
Hofer says the FAA required Ford to engage in airman counseling, where he was given materials to review on pilot protocol and safety. He was then ordered back for a second meeting where he was quizzed on the materials. The process took a number of hours and Hofer says the inspectors were so tough he wasn’t sure what they’d recommend.
And Ford’s lawyer adds, Ford has been flying for more than 20 years … a 709 ride was unnecessary … especially after inspectors were satisfied with the airman’s counseling.
Ian Gregor of the FAA tells us, "The way we resolved this case is consistent with FAA policy."