F-16s scramble for Obama aircraft alert
LOS ANGELES — Two F-16 fighters were scrambled Thursday after three small planes violated a flight ban imposed for a fundraising visit by President Barack Obama in California, officials said.
The military jets intercepted a Cessna 206 at around 9:00 am (1600 GMT) and a Cherokee PA 28 about 30 minutes later in airspace over Los Angeles, said North American Aerospace Defense Command spokesman Lieutenant Commander William Lewis. Both planes are single-engine, light aircraft models.
“The fighters responded after the aircraft entered a temporary flight restricted area, and escorted them until they departed the area,” Lewis said in a statement.
Earlier in the morning, a Mooney M20 violated the airspace near Fullerton, east of Los Angeles, at around 6:00 am and was forced to land at Chino Airport, said a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The incidents brought to six the number of aircraft intercepted in California for violating air space restrictions during Obama fundraising visits since the start of this year.
On Wednesday, an F-16 fighter intercepted a Cessna airplane until it landed at Camarillo Airport in Ventura County. On May 11, a small private plane was intercepted by fighter jets and forced to land at El Monte Airport.
On February 16, a Cessna was intercepted by two F-16s and forced to land at Long Beach Airport, south of Los Angeles, where authorities found marijuana on the plane.
Obama arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday from San Francisco, and left Thursday for Las Vegas, a few hours after the latest air security incidents.