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. rs

    For all of you complaining about air traffic regulations, I mean really. I thought you all support the rule of law. As for vacations- here's a fun fact: Mr. Obama takes on average three weeks of vacation each year. Mr. Bush on the other hand averaged nine weeks. Stop bellyaching and grow-up!

    February 17, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. WiredweirdinSF

    Gee, I am having to work today on my day off to pay my taxes. Some days I wish I was an inept, incompetent, corrupt, lying, union toady president so I could have all of these nice taxpayer paid vacations in Hawaii, Florida and Aspen. Especially if I promised not to rest until the economy improves and the take over 60 of these taxpayer paid vacations. I can't believe you idiots voted for this crook.

    February 17, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. rs


    We still have the lowest tax rates (especially if you're rich) in a generation or two. Stop bellyaching.

    February 17, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Ed1

    Marie MD

    This man takes more vacations at our expense than the last one. At least when Bush went to Crawford, TX the Secret Service didn't have to stay in Hotels and be sure that the cost was noway near what Obama cost the tax payers now.

    I have worked all my life and this Bozo has never had a job until he became President and he still hasn't earned his pay with all of his no leadership skills.

    By the way Congress was elected by us to and they are tried of his out of control spending too. You might mean the House but either way Gin they were elected just like two years ago to stop the mad man and his party of spend without any limits.

    February 17, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Dave Harris

    Florida is full of people who hate the country and fear the government, and would love to assassinate Obama. We call them Republicans.

    February 17, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. vidal808

    Yes, the President is entitled to his rest and vacations. Get over it – you sour grapes eaters – he is YOUR President – like it or not and will be for the next 4 years....suck it up and get over it, jejejeje.....

    February 17, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. us_1776

    I wish they would quit interrupting the marijuana delivery planes.

    Especially on the weekends.


    February 17, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Ricke1949

    Send the F16s to the border. Maybe they can do the job there.

    February 17, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. JM

    Bush took 9 weeks of vacation/year...during 2 wars?? WTH

    February 17, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  10. Lou50

    I hope there were no Radio Control hobbyist flying and violating the NOTAM that was issued grounding them within 35 miles of his flight path. Apparently the full scale pilots missed it as well. Last time I flew one of those 152's it couldn't fly as fast as the 747's landing speed. Another threat at the cost of 40 grand neutralized. By the way the RC people wont be able to fly till he leaves so hope they all voted for him so they can enjoy the stupidity of their actions.

    February 17, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Robrob

    "I am having to work today on my day off to pay my taxes."

    Because you failed to pay your taxes when you were supposed to. Whose fault is that?

    February 17, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. rocky5

    I love my president may god bless him AMEN

    February 17, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. metoo

    @WiredweirdinSF, I uttered that constantly when Bush was president.

    February 17, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Tim Sherman

    So, is he on vacation or actually doing something "official"???

    February 17, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Klancy Schmertz

    None of those aircraft could or would pose the slightest threat to the President.
    It's a case of hair-trigger paranoia over-reaction lingering a decade after the US was attacked by large aircraft that really could be a threat. The C150 seats two and maybe goes 125mph at full throttle. The Lancair goes a little faster. Both are so light you can pull them around on the ground like a kid pulling a wagon, can only carry the weight of the passengers and a duffle bag, and just simply aren't a threat.

    February 17, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Darryl

    RS – I see you read Doonesbury comic strip for your facts about the Presidents. Good source... Can you cite any other sources for your fact? Three weeks, nine weeks, it's all wasteful spending with the entourage that follows the first family around. Not to mention the collatarel lost revenue from all the restrictions to ground and air travel.

    February 17, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Tom in Santa Fe

    My tax dollars at work – protecting the President while he spends my tax dollars taking golf lessons. How about going to see how well the government is cleaning up / helping with the relief effort post-Sandy? Oh yeah, I forgot that one is the responsibility of Congress and not the President. I wish Americans who pay their taxes could have a say in how the government spends the tax money.

    February 17, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. easyrhino

    On 9/11 there wasn't a single fighter jet scrambled for 2 hours after four commercial airliners wen't off course.

    I guess they got their act together, yeah that's it!

    February 17, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Yellott

    Seems clear that the airspace restrictions were not put in place

    February 17, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. JamesInPA

    Aww man, the old presidential vacation debate. It doesn't matter what party the president is with, it's still their job. Their JOB, and a stressful one at that. Why is it all of a sudden a crime to take a vacation?

    The guy makes decisions that affect an entire country, along with the view of that country from others. When's the last time you had that kind of responsibility sitting on your shoulders? If the guy needs to unwind under some sun for the weekend, he should be allowed to do so without comments from people who think their measly tax dollars pay for everything the government might ever spend money on.

    February 17, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. X

    His choices will now cause him to live the rest of his life in paranoia and fear of people looking for revenge.

    February 17, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Darryl

    Hey Marie MD (and others) – funny how people that disagree with your views or are critical of the present CIC are HATERS, but you can bash on the GOP, NRA, pro-gun, pro-life folks all day long and think you're not the same? No excuse for the pilots of those aircraft – The TFR's are very simple to comply with, are published on a variety of websites, and are disseminated by Flight Service when you get your briefing. Anyone who flies out of their traffic pattern without getting a briefing is asking for trouble.

    February 17, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. BeverlyNC

    I worry about President Obama's safety constantly. The Secret Service has had an unbelievable rise in threats against President Obama since he was still a candidate. Republican hate and vitriol is at an all time high. They are so blinded with hate and bigotry they cannot even govern, work for the needs of the nation, and actually put "country first" as McCain used as his campaign slogan. Even McCain is no longer a leader but a bitter angry old man who digresses into tirades whenever he gets a microphone. President Obama deserves a vacation – but we all know Presidents never really get a vacation for the problems of the world are always with them. If you want to whine about vacation time – Bush Jr spent more time at his Crawford TX ranch than he did in the White House. This Republican-led Congress takes more recesses than any other before it, Upon becoming Speaker, Boehner implemented a schedule of one week off for every 2 weeks in session! And these men get 6 figure salaries, full healthcare benefits and full lifetime pensions that no American worker gets anymore. It's shameful. They should lose their benefits before they take away ours!

    February 17, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  24. dangle66

    WiredweirdinSF– And I can't believe the short term memories some of you seem to have... The previous president set a record for the number of vacation days for a president, while we were in the middle of two wars. I can understand complaining about politicians in general, but your last line suggest something is different with this current president over the previous.

    February 17, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Milton

    That should read "an" F16.

    February 17, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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