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F-16 fighter jet shoots flares, intercepts unauthorized aircraft over Trump rally

Two F-16C Fighting Falcon, 182nd Fighter Squadron, releases flares while conducting low-level combat training near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., April 10, 2014. (Staff Sgt. Jonathan Snyder/U.S. Air Force)
October 29, 2020

An F-16 fighter jet was scrambled to intercept a civilian aircraft in restricted airspace near President Donald Trump’s rally in Arizona on Wednesday.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed the incident in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon, saying, “NORAD F-16 aircraft investigated a general aviation aircraft that was not in communication with ATC and entered the Temporary Flight Restriction area surrounding Bullhead City, AZ without proper clearance.”

“The violating aircraft was non-responsive to initial intercept procedures, but established radio communications after NORAD aircraft deployed signal flares. The aircraft was escorted out of the restricted area by the NORAD aircraft without further incident,” NORAD added.

NORAD explained that a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) was activated over the area, and NORAD coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to identify and respond to any aircraft in the restricted area.

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In a live-streamed video of Trump’s rally in Bullhead City, Ariz., the fighter jet can be heard flying overhead. Watch below at approximately 38:45:

The sound is so noticeable that Trump and the crowd all turn to face it, then began to cheer.

“Wow,” Trump said. “That plane’s about four days old. We have all brand new equipment – F-35s, everything. We are the envy of the world.”

“Look at that sucker,” he says, looking back at the fighter jet. “He’s trying to show off to the president.”

“Yeah, that’s one of ours,” he said. “I gotta make sure about it, gotta be careful.”