Harrison Ford Gave Aspiring Pilot Personal Flying Lesson
Celebrity| | By Sara Wilkins
Actor and celebrity pilot Harrison Ford gave a lucky teen a flying lesson to remember on Thursday as part of an annual air show.
Jodie Gawthrop of Illinois recently became the two millionth member of the Young Eagle program, which introduces children to flying, and earned herself a flight with the Star Wars star.
Ford, who previously served as the chairman of the program from 2004 to 2009, invited the 16-year-old to join him in the friendly skies on Thursday, and they took off at the AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 air show in Wisconsin.
In photos taken before the flight, Ford, sporting a thick beard and sunglasses, gave Jodie a briefing as they posed for a photo together while seated in the cockpit.
In addition to the celebrity plane ride, the youngster will also receive a $7,500 flight training scholarship, reports the Associated Press.
Ford is well known for his piloting skills, which are thought to have saved his life in March 2015, when he had to make an emergency landing on a California golf course.
The actor had to act quickly when the engine died on his vintage plane, and knowing he’d never make it back to Santa Monica Airport, where he took off, he made a crash landing nearby.
He suffered a broken pelvis and ankle in the accident, and woke up in hospital five days later with no recollection of how he managed to land the aircraft.
“What I regret more than anything is that I don’t actually remember the maneuvering, what decisions I made, after I decided I was going to the golf course,” he told Men’s Journal magazine last year.
“When the engine quit, my training had prepared me to deal with it in a way. I really didn’t get scared. I just got busy. I knew what I was going to do, and I knew how to do it. The mantra aviators carry around in our heads is: Fly the airplane, first thing. Fly the airplane – even if it doesn’t have an engine, fly. Don’t give up that ship, matey. And though I don’t remember the details of it, I guess I was able to do that, because the way I landed, the wings were level. I didn’t stall it. I’m here!”