F-16s intercept plane near Obama's helicopter at LA airport

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 16, 2012 6:58 PM
F-16s intercept plane near Obama's helicopter at LA airport

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two U.S. F-16 fighter jets intercepted a small plane that infringed on restricted airspace around President Barack Obama's helicopter on Thursday in the vicinity of Los Angeles International Airport, a military spokesman said.

The F-16s, scrambled from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, made contact with the pilot of the intruding aircraft, a Cessna 182, and diverted the small plane to nearby Long Beach Airport, the spokesman said.

"They made contact, and he (Cessna pilot) was compliant once the intercept was made and he was instructed to land at Long Beach Airport, which he did without incident," said Michael Kucharek of the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command. The incident occurred between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. local time, he said.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Todd Eastham)