AFP/Reuters

WASHINGTON

A faulty carburetor was to blame for the California crash of a vintage World War II training aircraft piloted by ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ star Harrison Ford, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Thursday.

Ford, 73, a seasoned private pilot, sustained injuries when the Ryan PT-22 trainer that he was flying solo lost power on takeoff from Santa Monica airport on March 5, prompting him to make an emergency landing on a nearby golf course.

In a statement of probable cause, the NTSB said the two-seat aircraft suffered ‘a total loss of engine power during initial climb when the carburetor main metering jet became unsealed, which led to an extremely rich fuel-to-air ratio.’

‘Contributing to the accident was the lack of adequate carburetor maintenance instructions’ for the silver and yellow monoplane that was built in 1942 and restored during the 1990s, during which the carburetor was rebuilt. The NTSB also pointed to the cockpit shoulder harness, saying its improper installation contributed to the severity of Ford’s injuries, which were not life-threatening.

A longtime aviation enthusiast, Ford owns several aircraft and claims more than 5,200 hours in his log book. He is certified to fly land planes, seaplanes and helicopters, according to an earlier NTSB factual report on the accident. Ford has bounced back from his injuries, appearing at the Comic-Con festival in San Diego, California last month to promote the forthcoming ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ due out this December. Actor Harrison Ford does not recall the moments before crashing his vintage plane onto a Los Angeles-area golf course in March, badly damaging the aircraft and suffering serious injuries, according to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report released on Thursday.

The 72-year-old star of such blockbuster films as ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Raiders of the Los Ark’ was the sole occupant of the 1942 single-engine Ryan Aeronautical ST-3KR when it went down on a golf course near the Santa Monica Municipal Airport.

Ford had just taken off from the airport on March 5 when he experienced a loss of power at about 1,100 feet (335 meters), according to the report, which was published in the Los Angeles Times.

‘(The pilot) stated that he did not attempt an engine restart but maintained an airspeed of 85 mph (137 kph) and initiated a left turn back toward the airport; however during the approach he realized that the airplane was unable to reach the runway,’ an NTSB investigator said in the report.

‘The pilot did not recall anything further about the accident sequence,’ the investigator said. ‘Subsequently, the airplane struck the top of a tree that was about 65 feet (20 meters) tall and then impacted the ground in an open area of the golf course.’ The crash, which saw the actor’s plane come down a short distance from houses, follows years of complaints by residents in the heavily populated beachside community outside Los Angeles that the airport interferes with their quality of life.