breaking news

Robert Mueller subpoenas Steve Bannon in Russia probe

Trump in Palm Beach: F-16 fighter jets intercept private plane


Two F-16 fighter jets intercepted a private plane on Sunday afternoon that was flying in air space prohibited during the president’s visits to Mar-a-Lago.

According to a spokesman for NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the fighter jets from Homestead Air Reserve Base were already patrolling nearby airspace when they were alerted that a small private plane had violated airspace restrictions.

The plane was about 29 miles north of Mar-a-Lago when the intercept occured at 4:24 p.m. Residents in northern Palm Beach County and Martin County reported hearing the fighter jets’ loud engines flying overhead.

LATEST UPDATES: Trump in Palm Beach

The pilot of the private plane was unaware of the airspace restriction, a NORAD spokesman said. The fighter jets escorted the small plane to the North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport. The FAA will determine if the pilot should be fined.

Of the dozens of violations during the president’s 10 visits to Palm Beach County, at least six violators were intercepted by military aircraft. The intercept on Sunday was the only intercept by fighter jets during the president’s holiday visit.

The FAA issues advisories called TFRs - temporary flight restriction - to pilots several days before a presidential visit laying out airspace restrictions and warning them to check back often for changes. The advisory for the president’s current trip ends at 5 p.m. today.

When the president visits Mar-a-Lago all air operations, with a few exceptions, are prohibited within the 10-mile inner circle ring centered on Palm Beach International Airport. Certain operations are allowed in the outer ring extending 30 miles from the airport.

At least 27 aviators violated flight restriction zones during the first three weekends President Donald Trump was at his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago estate after his inauguration in January 2017, according to the FAA.

The FAA’s breakdown of violations for the first three stays: 10 violations on Feb. 3-5, three on Feb. 10-12, and 14 on Feb. 17-20, the long Presidents Day weekend.

“Previous TFRs in this region have resulted in numerous airspace violations,” the FAA alert states. “We need your help in getting the word out: Please pass this information along to as many pilots and aviation professionals as possible.”

The Homestead Air Reserve Base Base where the intercept fighter jets are located, is about 25 miles south of Miami. It is a fully combat-ready unit capable of providing F-16C multi-purpose fighter aircraft, along with mission ready pilots and support personnel, for short-notice worldwide deployment.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

NEW: Lot of interest in new Wellington Historical Society
NEW: Lot of interest in new Wellington Historical Society

Laurie Cohen works fast. Wellington’s village attorney has taken on a new role in her off hours: president of the fledgling Wellington Historical Society. I wrote about this in November after Mayor Anne Gerwig mentioned at a village council meeting that she had received some documents outlining how to put together a historical society. RELATED...
NEW: Florida boy, 6, dies of rabies infection from bat scratch
NEW: Florida boy, 6, dies of rabies infection from bat scratch

A 6-year-old boy in Central Florida who was scratched by a bat died at a local hospital on Sunday.  According to WESH, Ryker Roque contracted the virus when he went to touch a sick bat that his father had rescued in Eustis, Fla.  "I had asked my son, 'Don't touch it under any circumstance. Don't touch it until I find out more about...
TO-DO LIST: Comedy in Wellington, South Florida Fair parades
TO-DO LIST: Comedy in Wellington, South Florida Fair parades

Looking for some fun this week? Check out these events. 1. Comedy Night. The popular Comedy Night series returns to The Grille, 12300 South Shore Blvd., Wellington, this Saturday night. Guests can enjoy a three-course dinner before the show for $39 per person, or enjoy just the show for $10 general admission, plus two drinks minimum per person. This...
NEW: Wellington event raises $40K for Virgin Islands hurricane relief
NEW: Wellington event raises $40K for Virgin Islands hurricane relief

A fundraiser last week in Wellington brought in some big money for hurricane relief in the British Virgin Islands. The Thursday event was co-hosted by Palm Beach Travel, the British Virgin Islands Tourism Board, Lamborghini and The Moorings. More than 50 guests packed the International Polo Club Palm Beach and raised $40,000 to help recovery efforts...
NEW: Greenacres-area man, 53, accused of molesting kids at sleepover
NEW: Greenacres-area man, 53, accused of molesting kids at sleepover

A 53-year-old man is accused of molesting three children who were spending the night at his Greenacres-area home some time last year, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office records state. The children, who were 14, 12 and 10 when they spoke with sheriff’s authorities in February, said Cary Anderson inappropriately touched them while they slept...
More Stories