June 7th, 2012
01:21 PM ET

Small plane forced to land after violating presidential airspace restrictions

A small plane was forced to land in Chino, California, after a pilot violated airspace restrictions in place for President Barack Obama's visit, FAA spokesperson Allen Kenitzer told CNN.

Kenitzer had no further details about the incident.

The military also intercepted a private plane Thursday morning in the vicinity of Fullerton, California, Kenitzer said. The aircraft, a Mooney M20, landed at Chino at 6:04 a.m. PDT. The FAA is investigating.

The incidents on Thursday followed a similar issue on Wednesday when a fighter jet intercepted a single-engine airplane northwest of Los Angeles for breaching a temporary airspace restriction, according to a military news release.

The temporary restriction violated by the Cessna aircraft coincided with a campaign visit to the city by Obama, who was on a one-day fundraising swing through the state.

"After intercepting the aircraft, the F-16 followed it until it landed without incident, at approximately 4:58 p.m. PDT where the plane was met by local law enforcement," according to a statement issued by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

The president spoke at a gala for the gay community in Los Angeles, on his third fundraising trip to the Golden State in the past month. Earlier in the day, he attended two campaign events in San Francisco.

NORAD's mission is to protect U.S. and Canadian airspace against possible threats and may require planes to change course or land.

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Filed under: Aviation • Barack Obama • California
soundoff (487 Responses)
  1. kevin welch

    so were were all these f-16 interceptors when 911 was going down?They can intercept a small private plane but not a commercial airliner?

    June 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dixon

      better leadership these days.

      June 8, 2012 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
    • hatchett1981

      During 9/11, they were all on a "training exercise" and didn't know that it was "real" until planes hit their targets. Thank you NORAD.

      June 8, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bert in UT

    The world had to stop while W went to Crawford to cut brush, He's the President. Get a clue.

    June 8, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. StanCalif

    These two pilots, who violated restricted air space, should have their licenses revoked! They obviously did not do their required "homework" before taking off. Just two more idiots who regard "regulations" as something that only applies to "others", not to them! It would be interesting to know who these pilots are! Violating restricted air space is a serious matter, these pilots certainly have no valid "excuse".

    June 8, 2012 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. john

    If you want a true challenge, try actually "following" a Cessna prop plane with an F-16. The average cruising speed of even a 210 Cessna at best is about 165 or so, which is the roll-out speed necessary for an F-16 to fly. That fighter pilot would have had to do a hell of a lot of jinking in order to remain behind a Cessna for any period of time. How do I know? :)

    June 8, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. hatchett1981

    As far as this article goes, all pilots (Military, Civilian, Commercial) Are required to check several things amongst all pre-flight checks. NOTAMS & METARS are probably the two most important. NOTAMS will tell you a lot of information, specifically if there's any TFR's in your flight plan in this case. (You have to register that usually if you're traveling outside of your regional airspace)
    Additionally, at controlled airports, before Taxiing, you have to tune your radio to the automated information frequency and get the authenticator. You then contact the tower, and tell them you're ready to taxi with information "Zulu" Or "Xray" etc. That lets them know you've listened to the automated report, you have all the information you need to fly in that area, and they will then clear you for taxi to runway whatever.
    Looks like theres other people to blame here besides the pilot, unless he took off from an uncontrolled airfield.

    Ultimately, it IS the pilot's responsibility to be fully informed of any area he/she plans on flying into.

    Just saying.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
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