Fighter jets chase down small planes near Obama’s Florida resort
February 16th, 2013
04:24 PM ET
2 years 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. Bill

    It should be o.k. to fly over the White House since the President's probably not there.

    February 17, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Tom

    Why does Obama need 10 kg of pot in his holiday resort? Also, he could have asked his driver to get some instead of using an aircraft.

    February 17, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Done&Done

    I'm willing to bet if the haters were given a book full of things Obama stands for and has accomplished – without knowing it was Obama himself or about Obama – they would be impressed or agree with many of the points to be made. But just because it's Obama they wouldn't agree or they would bash him for anything. That is a reflection of a narrow-minded view. In some cases a racially biased view – yes I did pull that card and I am white. There's proof to what I say – blind polls have been taken that show the bias. Obama haters shouldn't feel so proud of themselves.

    February 17, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. YaValioCacaWates

    President Obama is the best president this country has ever seen., and will see for a long time. The president works very hard, he deserves a little time out for himself every now and then. God bless President Obama, and his lovely family. God bless the USA.

    February 17, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. kottmyer

    I don't mind Presidents taking vacations, even lots of vacations (because they're never totally on vacation, even when clearing shrubbery, like Dubya was fond of doing). What I find annoying is that every time they go - and that's ANY president – they've got that moving 30-nm TFR around them, shutting down airports and airspace. Pilots are supposed to check NOTAMs before they fly, but SHEESH - that 152 pilot was probably out for a nice little VFR trip around Florida, exercising his right to fly, and he finds himself flying formation with an F-16. He spent a lot of money getting that license, and he might lose it over that. Really unfair. I wish Presidents would just stay the hell at Camp David - all pilots know about that airspace.

    February 17, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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