Skip to main content

Harrison Ford has a place among the Hollywood elite who prefer to take the yoke rather than settle into a private jet. That’s right; Ford, like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is an action star with a pilot license and a hunger for hitting the blue skies. However, Ford’s favorite airplane isn’t some commonplace Cessna 172 or Piper PA. No, his single-engine De Havilland has a history with Air America, a CIA-run initiative. 

Harrison Ford loves his De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver– but the plane has a wild history

Harrison Ford visits Denver and gives some kids an airplane ride.
Harrison Ford visits Denver and gives some kids an airplane ride | Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post via Getty Images

“Indiana Jones” actor Harrison Ford has a spectacular collection of aircraft. However, unlike much of the mega-wealthy celebrity landscape, he prefers to do the flying himself. Still, even with a stunning 1929 Waco Taperwing biplane in his hangar, the action star loves flying his 1955 De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, a single-engine classic with a wild history. 

Ford claims the 1955 De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver flew with “Air America” in the 1960s. However, Air America isn’t like American Airlines or Delta– it’s “the agency’s proprietary airline,” per the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Freedom of Information Act Reading Room. 

What’s more, Harrison Ford’s 1955 De Havilland was “riddled with bullet holes” during its service. As a result, the De Havilland required extensive repair. However, his lovely verdant airplane enjoys a much more wholesome experience today. For instance, Harrison Ford, chairman of the Young Eagles flight program, takes children up for their first flights in the classic plane to stoke the fires of youthful aviation enthusiasts.    

The De Havilland brand has experience with action and world conflicts. During the Second World War, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer produced the DH 98 Mosquito, a fast, twin-engine warplane. Interestingly enough, the Mosquito’s wood body returned very little radar, making it a case study in radar-defeating materials and the science behind stealth technology. Still, it was a far cry from the radar-absorbing material (RAM) in today’s stealth aircraft. 

Air America, a covert CIA-run airline, took part in search-and-rescue operations in Vietnam

According to the CIA, Air America took part in search and rescue operations during the Vietnam War. In fact, the FOIA Reading Room features many documents detailing operations wherein Air America extracted personnel from Vietnam to Hong Kong. 

Without a doubt, Harrison Ford loves telling the story of his 1955 De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver and its remarkable background.