Ford's real-life bravado equals Han Solo, Indiana Jones

AP News
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Posted: Mar 05, 2015 11:37 PM
Ford's real-life bravado equals Han Solo, Indiana Jones

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harrison Ford is as much the daredevil in real life as Han Solo, Indiana Jones or the other larger-than-life characters that he has played on the screen.

While his fictional adventures in "Star Wars" and as bold archaeologist Jones have thrilled audiences, the star has run into real-life danger — and sometimes pain — while indulging in his love of aviation, fast driving and the unpredictability of filmmaking.

On Thursday, the actor's vintage plane crash-landed on a golf course in Los Angeles shortly after taking off from a nearby airport. Ford, 72, who had reported engine failure to air-traffic controllers, was taken to the hospital with injuries that his spokeswoman said were not life-threatening.

Beyond joy-riding in the skies, Ford also employs his skills as a pilot, acquired in his mid-50s, to help in search-and-rescue efforts.

Here are a few of his closer brushes, some more dramatic than others, as well as heroic moments:

— The scar on his face that lends him a rakish look was earned, he's said, in "a mundane way." In 1964, he was speeding to a job at a department store in Orange County, California, when his car veered off the road and into a telephone pole as he fumbled for his seat belt.

— In 1999, Ford crash-landed his helicopter during a training flight in which he and an instructor were practicing auto rotations in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles. Ford and the instructor were unhurt.

— He used his helicopter in 2000 to pluck an Idaho Falls, Idaho, hiker off 11,106-foot Table Mountain in Teton County, Wyoming, and fly her to a hospital.

One year later, Ford and another searcher helped find a missing Boy Scout in a forest south of Yellowstone National Park. "Boy, you sure must have earned a merit badge for this one," Ford told the cold and hungry teenager after whisking him to safety by chopper.

— Ford was at the helm of a Beechcraft Bonanza in 2000 when wind shear forced him to make an emergency landing at Lincoln Municipal Airport in Nebraska. Ford and his passenger were uninjured when the plane clipped the runway and its wing tips were damaged, officials said.

— Ford, who takes pride in doing his own stunt work, reportedly injured his back in 1983 while making "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and damaged ligaments in his leg during production of the 1993 film "The Fugitive."

— Last year, he was filming "Star Wars: Episode VII" in a studio outside London when a door of Solo's Millennium Falcon spacecraft fell and broke the actor's leg, requiring surgery on it. He recovered and returned to complete his work on the movie.

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Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.