Aviation News

June 12, 2011

Fighter Jets Intercept Small Plane Near Camp David

Fighter jets on Saturday afternoon intercepted a small plane near Camp David in Maryland, where President Barack Obama is spending the weekend.

F-15E1 Silent Eagle on its first successful flight

F-15E1 Silent Eagle on its first successful flight. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said two F-15 fighter jets out of Jacksonville International Airport in Florida were alerted as a small Beechcraft Bonanza remained out of radio contact while near restricted airspace over Camp David, the country retreat of the president.

The fighter jets intercepted the small aircraft at around 3.25 p.m. EDT when it was about 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) from Camp David. “[The jets] escorted the plane out of the area and it landed at Hagerstown, Md., without incident,” NORAD said in a statement.

The statement gave no other details, but there was no indication that the plane had approached Camp David on purpose. Obama and the First Family arrived at Camp David on Friday, and are spending the weekend at the retreat.

In mid-April, NORAD scrambled two F-16 fighter jets when a small aircraft entered restricted airspace in Washington, D.C. The fighter jets escorted the aircraft until the plane left the area.

NORAD is tasked to prevent air attacks against North America and safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the United States and Canada by responding to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces, and provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America. It is allowed to monitor, shadow, divert from flight path, direct to land and destroy targets which are deemed to be a security threat to North America.