Pilots didn't get the memo, Obama is in town

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(CNS) – Two F-16 fighter planes were deployed today to intercept a pair of single-engine airplanes that violated restricted airspace established over Los Angeles during a fundraising visit by President Barack Obama.

A Cessna 206 was intercepted about 9 a.m., and a Cherokee PA 28 was intercepted about 9:30 a.m., according to Lt. Cmdr. William Lewis of North American Aerospace Defense Command.

“The fighters responded after the aircraft entered a temporary flight restricted area, and escorted them until they departed the area,” Lewis said in a written statement.

The pilots were directed to contact the Federal Aviation Administration for further instructions, Lewis said.

Today’s incidents brought to five the number of times a small plane was intercepted for violating restricted airspace during recent visits by the president to the Southland.

About 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, an F-16 fighter intercepted a Cessna airplane, which landed 10 minutes later at Camarillo Airport in Ventura County, where Secret Service personnel questioned the pilot, Capt. Mike Hartmann of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said.

On May 11, a small private plane was intercepted by fighter jets and forced to land at El Monte Airport after its pilot inadvertently entered restricted airspace during an Obama visit.

On another presidential foray to the Southland Feb. 16, a Cessna was intercepted by two F-16s and forced to land at Long Beach Airport, where authorities found marijuana on the plane.

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