The US military intercepted a small plane that flew through Delaware’s restricted airspace over the weekend, immobilizing the pilot at a nearby Pennsylvania airport as President Biden visited his home in Wilmington.
“On May 16, at around 1:09 pm, a small plane violated the restricted airspace in Wilmington, DE,” a Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement. “According to standard protocol, a US military aircraft responded, the aircraft was intercepted, and the pilot was redirected to a local airport.”
A Defense Department spokesperson told Fox News the pilot was not in communication with air traffic controllers when entering restricted airspace and therefore did so without proper clearance.
“The NORAD fighter distributed flares during the interception with the aim of attracting the pilot’s attention and directing him safely out of the restricted area,” the Defense Ministry spokesperson explained. . “The offending aircraft was monitored by the NORAD aircraft until it landed at a nearby airfield.”
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Jon Martin, director of aviation at New Garden Airport in Pa., Confirmed to Fox News on Monday that the small plane violated the temporary flight restriction zone and was signaled by warning flares by the military fighter plane.
Martin said the plane was then grounded at New Garden Airport, noting that the local airport suffered frequent shutdowns due to the flight restrictions implemented whenever Biden returned home.
It was the first plane to come to a stop at New Garden Airport, Martin said. Commercial air traffic, he noted, is unaffected by the temporary flight restrictions.
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Typically, flight restrictions for presidential visits include a 30 nautical mile ring, in which there is a smaller no-fly zone.
Martin said the single-engine plane left Ocean City, Maryland for New York when it was intercepted. He said he believed the pilot was unaware of the restrictions and was not deliberately trying to cause problems.
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