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Trump in Palm Beach: F-16 intercepts plane in no-fly zone

U.S. Air Force Capt. Joe Swinson, a pilot with the 14th Fighter Squadron, flies in an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft alongside his wingman during a large-scale air defense and strike mission exercise at COPE Tiger 19 in Thailand, March 14, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Melanie A. Hutto)

An F-16 fighter jet and 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 helicopter to investigate when the private aircraft entered airspace 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.

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

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.