Aviation News

July 1, 2011

Pilot Attempting to Impress Woman Intercepted by F-16s After Straying Into Mexican Airspace

Two F-16 fighter jets intercepted a small plane in Arizona Friday afternoon after it accidentally flew into Mexican airspace during an attempt to impress a woman, officials said.

Air National Guard F-16 fighter jets

North American Aerospace Defense Command directed two F-16 fighters, similar to these California Air National Guard F-16s, to intercept a small Cessna aircraft along the US-Mexico border. (Photo by NORAD)

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said two F-16 fighter jets intercepted the small aircraft at approximately 12:50 pm Central Time when it was near Tucson, a city about 60 miles (98 kilometers) north of the U.S.-Mexico border. It had just re-entered U.S. airspace.

The civilian aircraft, which was flying without a flight plan, was forced to land at Tucson International Airport where the pilot was met by local law enforcement. He reportedly explained that he accidentally flew into Mexico while attempting to impress a woman.

Several small planes have been intercepted by NORAD aircraft in various parts of the United States in recent weeks. Most recently, on June 13 and June 18, U.S. Coast Guard helicopters were ordered to intercept two small planes after they entered restricted airspace near Washington, D.C.

And earlier in June, two F-15 fighter jets out of Jacksonville International Airport in Florida were alerted when a small Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft remained out of radio contact while near restricted airspace over Camp David, the country retreat of the president. It landed without incident after being escorted out of the area.

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