Harrison Ford is facing an investigation by Federal Aviation Administration officials in the US after mishearing an air traffic control operator's commands and crossing an airport runway.

77-year-old Ford, who played maverick pilot Han Solo in Star Wars, landed at Hawthorne Airport in Southern California last Friday and was asked to "hold short" on the runway due to other traffic.

However, the actor misheard the instructions and proceeded to cross the taxiway, as the tower operator angrily chastised him.

In audio footage obtained by entertainment news site TMZ, the official snapped, "I didn’t tell you to get across that runway now. I told you to hold short. You need to listen up."

Apologising for his mistake, Ford replied, "Excuse me sir, I thought (you said) exactly the opposite. I’m terribly sorry."

TMZ reports that the only other traffic was another pilot practising touch-and-go landings on the other end of the runway, so there was no real danger of a collision.

Ford’s World War II plane after an incident in 2015

FAA bosses have since launched an investigation into the incident.

A representative for the actor told TMZ: "Mr Ford crossed the airport’s only runway in his aircraft after he misheard a radio instruction from ATC. He immediately acknowledged the mistake and apologised to ATC for the error.

"The purpose of the flight was to maintain currency and proficiency of the aircraft."

Ford is reportedly working to update his pilot’s licence to enable him to take part in more relief efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is not the first time he has fallen foul of FAA bosses. In February, 2017, Ford hit headlines after mistakenly landing his single-engine Husky on a taxiway instead of a runway at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, where he narrowly avoided a potential collision with an American Airlines passenger plane, which was preparing for take-off. 

The commercial aircraft was able to depart safely moments later, and Ford, who had branded himself a "schmuck" over the radio for his error, subsequently escaped FAA punishment.

Two years earlier, Ford performed an emergency landing after suffering engine failure in a World War II vintage aircraft, hitting a tree and crashing onto a California golf course.

He suffered multiple injuries in the 2015 incident, including a broken pelvis and ankle.