Fighter jets chase down small planes near Obama’s Florida resort
February 16th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
1 year ago

Fighter jets chase down small planes near Obama’s Florida resort

(CNN) - Fighter jets intercepted three small planes that violated flight restrictions set up in Florida for President Barack Obama’s visit.

The first, a Cessna 152, entered the restricted airspace just before noon Saturday near the Palm City resort where the president is staying, according to Army Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys.

The military's North American Aerospace Defense Command sent a F-16 fighter jet and a Coast Guard helicopter to intercept the plane, he said.

Related: Obama trades White House for clubhouse this weekend

The F-16 flew with the plane until it landed at Witham Field in nearby Stuart, where it was met by local officials. The Secret Service and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident.

Five hours later, F-16s intercepted a Lancair 320, a smaller craft that seats two passengers, the defense command said.

That plane left the restricted airspace after the fighter jets arrived and "continued to its destination,” according to the defense command.

The third plane, another Cessna general aviation aircraft, was intercepted near Palm City at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday and landed at Okeechobee Airport, where it was also met by local authorities.

Small aircraft occasionally enter areas restricted temporarily when the president travels.

A year ago, a Cessna 182 was intercepted over Obama's airspace in Los Angeles. That plane was found to be carrying 10 kilograms of what appeared to be marijuana, according to a law enforcement official.

– CNN's Steve Brusk, Barbara Starr and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: Florida • President Obama
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. NameKen

    The highest tea rate the year I was born ( I'm under 50) was 70%! This year it is half that.

    The lowest bracket has fallen from 15% to 10%. A huge decline

    February 17, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. dangle66

    Calls to several Presidential libraries reveal that President Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, was on vacation more — 1,020 days — than any U.S. President since Herbert Hoover and possibly more than any other President in history.

    Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was in office 12 years from 1933 to 1945, was on vacation less days than President Bush at 958 days. Calls to several Presidential Libraries reveal that no President can come close to Bush’s 1,020 days on vacation in an 8 year period. Some claim the cost of Bush’s frequent trips to Crawford, Texas cost taxpayers upwards of $20 million, but the numbers are hard to confirm.

    February 17, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. jj

    Not sure about actual vacation time, but Bush was always gone somewhere. 1/3 of his time in office! He liked to 'tele-commute', from his ranch. It's not like he had a job. Cheney ran the office and the country. They didn't really want him around.

    February 17, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. john wright

    the small aircraft really didn't have anything to worry about except maybe for the airthrust from the F-16's engines. They weren't armed! No military whether planes or soldiers are allowed to be armed near the president. What are they afraikd of anyway?

    February 17, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. VCQ

    Rule number one: ALWAYS check NOTAMS and TFRs...Oh well, guess the pilots will get experience in filling out NASA Safety Reports!

    And Anon: You CAN hear many TFR intercept comms from military aircraft at LiveATC...I'd expect to see some audio uploaded in the next day or two.

    February 17, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. glorydays

    They raise them pretty slow thinking in Florida.

    February 17, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. WiredweirdinSF

    If Obozo only takes three weeks per year they are already up. He only slacks up on the vacations when he is running for office. My problem is I am jealous, I can't take vacations because of the ridiculous economy that he said he would not rest until its fixed. I know he also said Obozo care would not cost one more dime and that we could keep our doctors and our plans, also lies and that he said that his budget proposals would not cost another dime (also a well reported lie), that the summer of 2010 was the summer of prosperity (a lie) and that he would only raise taxes on the rich (check your latest pay stub, that was also a lie).

    February 17, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. Sagebrush Shorty

    F-16's for Obama, gun control for the masses.

    February 17, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. SpongeBob

    Wired, just how much taxpayer money do you think was spent on Bush's vacations? Bush took way more and, hence, spent way more taxpayer dollars on his than Obama did.

    February 17, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Brian

    Being one of the controllers that has done this mission. This is not something that is done by Air Traffic Control. This is the responsibitlity of the Eastern Air Defense Sector and local Air Force Air Battle Managers (officers) or Weapons Directors (enlisted). Before any pilot flies they have to read all regulations that apply to the airspace they will be in, to include Visual Flight Rules (VFR). This has been done for every president not just this one. Hats off to the men and women of the AF to do their job and make sure OUR President is safe.

    February 17, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Lowest tax rates? Ya and a lot to show for it these days.

    February 17, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. Newport Pagnell

    If you're so concerned about the enviroment,you should have protested at the golf course the president is playing at today. Some of the biggest polluters on the planet (fertilizers,pesticides,mowing etc) BTW he flew in on a jet that burns about 5 gallons of jet a fuel per mile.

    February 17, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Lee

    Well there you go... Congratulations on saving the world. Lets just ban all Cessna 152s! You guys will probably try to call them assault planes now... Get those ugly two-seaters out of the friendly sky.

    February 17, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Jojo

    We need more regular Joe the plumbers in the federal govt. Like the forefathers And less lawyers and millionaire polititians.

    February 17, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. steve

    It's scary to think pilots aren't paying attention or are not aware of flight restrictions. I guess they won't be flying their aircraft for a while and will have to spend some time and money with flight instructors before they do again.

    February 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Bobblehead_in_chief

    No even pilots respect obumbler

    February 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Mitt R

    This is the main problem with republican supporter's ( besides a lack of higher education) they. Complain about things, but yet fail to check that the people they voted before have already done them. Worse in some cases, so a little studying ( I know it's hard for you republicans) would do the trick.

    February 17, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. Lame

    Obama seems like a square. Why does he have to resort in Florida?

    February 17, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. That's Sergeant to you

    If you hate the fact that the president gets his own airspace and is on vacation... get an education and become president so you can show us how it's done.

    February 17, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Donna

    Campaign,vacation and golf is all Obama ever seems to do. Does he realize that leading and governing is part of the job? I guess 8% unemployment, trillion dollar deficits and record food stamp recipients is the new new norm. ANother 4 years of Obama disaster awaits our country.

    February 17, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. ug

    I'm surprised that he didn't send up drones to kill people in FL.

    February 17, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. NOTAMs

    Notice though they did not say F-22 or F-35s. So what's wrong with the jets we already have?

    On a separate note: I think I remember reading something about there being Notices To Airmen(NOTAM), that your supposed to read before takeoff that lay out where not to fly, I don't know I am not a pilot.

    February 17, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. keith

    I am sure those rules were understandable......not! So the government theatens more citizens with death to protect the privileged.

    February 17, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Dan

    @teila – I think you mean to say every pilot SHOULD know where TFR's are located. It's their responsibility to gather that info during preflight, and even though it's made available that doesn't mean all of them get it, which i'm betting is the case here...either that or the piolt has no situational awareness. Restricted airspace is also not necessarily so big that it sticks out like a sore thumb.

    February 17, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. lifetraveler007

    Yes, please stop whining like a teenage who has lost her msescara before the big prom... The president now is no different than presidents before, except that he is a democrat and black. Hmm, maybe that is the true source of your anger and Angst. The fact that he is Black is driving some of you absolutely crazy. I am amazed as to how disrespectful, frustrated, angry and racist you are. Most folks with such issues try to be civil. But his election has totally taken the cap of restraint. He is no crook, you cannot orove otherwise. He cares about the country as a while, versus one economic group that would gladly dump tons of money into his pocket for favors that go against the middle class.

    Lets deal with sone facts. You worked all of your life paying into the social security system, yet the GOP wants to take your money and give it to their friends in the form of more taxcuts. SS is not allowed by law to borrow money, which means it should not be in this tax debate at all. But the GOP TREATS YOU as if you are stupid, becasue they know you do not know about that factoid. They use fear on you because you will not educate yourself enough to know when you are being lied to. Do you really want to work until you die? Wakeup!

    February 17, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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