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With Trump in Florida, F-16 intercepts plane in no-fly zone

An Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from Misawa Air Base, Japan, performs a demonstration flight during Aero India 2019 at Air Force Station Yelahanka, Bengaluru, India, Feb. 20, 2019.

JUAN TORRES/U.S. AIR FORCE

By CHRISTINE STAPLETON | The (West Palm Beach, Fla.) Palm Beach Post | Published: April 21, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — An F-16 fighter jet and a military helicopter intercepted a single-engine aircraft that strayed into restricted airspace and was not in communication with air traffic controllers on Saturday, according to a statement released by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

At 6:07 p.m., NORAD directed the F-16 and the helicopter to investigate when the private aircraft entered airspace that is restricted when President Donald Trump visits Palm Beach, according to NORAD Major Mark Lazane. Upon intercept the pilot established communications and left the restricted airspace, Lazane said. The event was resolved without incident.

When the president visits, all air operations, with a few exceptions, are prohibited within the 10-mile inner-circle centered on Palm Beach International Airport. Certain operations are allowed in the outer ring extending 30 miles from the airport. Despite warnings to pilots issued by the Federal Aviation Administration when the president visits Mar-a-Lago, dozens of private pilots have strayed into restricted airspace.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, 73 aviators slipped into the restricted airspace during Trump’s first year in office.

©2019 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)
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