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

    control air space control water control environment control guns control food control money control life after conception

    control speech control health care control freedom control control control liberalism is all about control

    February 16, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Rob

    Obama is a wonderful president

    February 16, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  3. Name lynn

    Obama your during a good job as being president. Rubio wants to copy off of you an visit other country good luck for him, always obama god have your back.

    February 16, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. Woman In California

    Thank you to all the military personnel involved who were instrumental in bringing this plane down and keeping our CIC safe.

    February 16, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  5. Newport Pagnell

    Wasn't he just on "vacation" in Hawaii??

    February 16, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. Anon

    I'd love to hear the ATC conversation with the pilot.

    February 16, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  7. K in Miami

    I live in Florida, got a chance to see the President up close and personal at MacArthur High School righ before the election, his secret service detail is no JOKE...

    When the President walked past me, I said to some people in the crowd that I was proud to be from the same neighborhood in Chicago as the President and I consider him my friend, the secret service guys looked at me like they were ready to take me out.....The Prez is well protected

    February 16, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  8. Kimo

    Country is in a fiscal crisis. So, what is the leader doing? Spending millions of tax payer dollars on a Florida vacation of course. And the progressives see nothing wrong with their leader squandering money during a fiscal crisis.

    February 16, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  9. Ed1

    I guess you have a hard time at work since the SOTU address time for a vacation and rest up for another two weeks before taking another one.

    February 16, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  10. GalacticCannibal

    This happened in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

    This land is not Free and the people are not Brave . its all hypocrisy and controlled propaganda.

    February 17, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  11. callmecrazy

    Oops. My bad.

    February 17, 2013 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  12. alumette

    some poor guy was unaware of that limitation in the air space....he must have gotten scared to death to be intercepted by F-16's. Brrrrr. Who knows exactly where these restrictions are ? it changes....

    February 17, 2013 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  13. geggyg

    @ rob
    do you think Obama is the only President to have had no fly zones when he travels. I remember that during a previous presidents term ( I wont say his name becaue you would just think im a liberal bashing a republican president , plus it was so long ago between 4 and 12 years ago) but a town called Crawford Texas had a no fly zone for 8 years even when the President was not in residence at his hobby farm.

    February 17, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  14. Teila

    Alumette... ALL PILOTS know of ANY restriction ANYWHERE in the U.S. at ANY TIME because the restriction, type of restriction, time it goes into effect, exact location, area of the restriction, height of the restriction (e.g. Surface to 50,000 ft., etc..) is published and posted and electronically updated continuously 24/7.

    Basically busting into a restricted airspace is the equivenant of you running a red light a a large intersection. It's too obvious for a responsible pilot to avoid plain and simple.

    February 17, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Evergreen

    Enjoy your Presidents' Day weekend Mr. President, former Presidents' Carter, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2, and in remembrance of those who served as President.

    February 17, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. tkinil

    Who cares

    February 17, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Marie MD

    To the haters, yes, the President was "just on vacation" back in December of last year. Why don't you confront your congress as to why we all take, if even, Monday off as a holiday and they left town on Friday?
    Were you upset everytime the village I #43 went to clean brush on that ugly ranch of his (also with restricted air space) in Midland, TX? That guy spent 1/3 of his eight years on vacation. Not that he ever did anything but destroy the financial security of the country and never went after bin laden.
    Presidents should have restricted air space at all times.. Even in DC we have restricted air space around the city.
    What exactly is the problem with this?

    February 17, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Marie MD

    I should have added that congress will be gone until February 25th!!!

    February 17, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. plain&simple

    When the democrats have the next president in the white house......the haters will have to find something else to complain about. You know they will.

    February 17, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. Reflecto

    It's not Obama's airspace. It is the property of the People.

    February 17, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. Larry L


    control air space control water control environment control guns control food control money control life after conception

    control speech control health care control freedom control control control liberalism is all about control
    You apparently prefer a nation with no Air Force, no environmental regulations, no gun safety laws, no food inspections, no currency, no banking system, no healthcare system, and no rights for women. Consider moving to Somalia. It meets your "conservative" requirements.

    February 17, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Doug

    The President is doing a great job. Until you walk a mile in someone's else shoes don't complain. So let the President enjoy few a days off, even when off, he's still on duty 24/7. After all there has only been 43 before him and all have taken time off, starting with George Washington.

    February 17, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Wes

    Does he ever work?

    February 17, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  24. Tony in Maine

    Reflecto – use your head for something besides a funny looking hat rack. every President, regardless of party or race, is protected the same way. You didn't fly a small plane into restricted air space when Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush HRH Ronald I, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower or Truman were in the area. As for all the maroons complaining about The President taking a day to golf – were you kvetching when Poppy fished or Dubya cleared brush? Doubt it, they're white folk.

    February 17, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. batjones

    A lot of these comments criticizing the President are just silly. As the Head of State, the President never takes a vacation. Besides, Congress is on break yet again. So, the President would have to travel to Florida in order to meet with Senator Rubio.

    February 17, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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