- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - Yes, Harrison Ford uses a checklist when he flies his plane.

A curious teenager accompanied the “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” star when he flew his DeHavilland Beaver on Thursday at the AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 air show in Wisconsin. His passenger, 16-year-old Jodie Gawthrop, won the trip in a national contest through the Young Eagles program, which uses pilot and ground volunteers to introduce children to flying.

Ford was the program’s chairman from 2004 to 2009. The contest was designed to celebrate the program reaching 2 million members.

Ford told reporters after the 15-minute flight that he and Gawthrop talked shop in the air.

“It was really, really fun. We spent some time talking about the airplane and what I was doing and going through the checklists,” Ford said, referring to the step-by-step protocols that pilots follow. “Jodie actually asked me if celebrities use checklists. I said, ‘absolutely. They need them.’”



Gawthrop, of Westchester, Illinois, has 10 flight hours under her belt through the Civil Air Patrol. But she said she was nervous about meeting the 74-year-old movie star.

“I geek out over Indiana Jones movies. I love ‘Star Wars,’” she said. “But I’m really excited to meet Harrison Ford as a fellow aviation enthusiast.”

A rainstorm struck the area just before Ford and Gawthrop were scheduled to take off. As the rain subsided, the pair emerged from a runway-side building with Ford holding an umbrella over the girl. They climbed aboard the single-prop plane amid cheers from dozens of spectators, including at least one who was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the image of Han Solo, Ford’s “Star Wars” character.

Ford and Gawthrop circled the airfield twice before landing. Afterward, Ford said he would remember his flight with Gawthrop for a long time. Gawthrop called the trip “amazing.”

Ford crashed a World War II-era plane after taking off from California’s Santa Monica Airport in March 2015. Investigators blamed the crash on a problem with the plane’s carburetor. Asked Thursday if he feels any residual hesitancy about flying after the accident, Ford joked, “I still can’t play the violin.”

___

Associated Press writer Carrie Antlfinger contributed to this report.

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