Small plane intercepted near Obama holiday retreat

By REUTERS
June 12, 2011 03:13

 
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WASHINGTON - A small aircraft wandered into the airspace of Camp David, Maryland, while President Barack Obama was there on Saturday, and was intercepted by two F-15 fighter jets patrolling in the area, authorities said.

The Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft had filed a flight plan but was not in radio contact and got within 11 miles (18 km) of the presidential retreat.

"Out of an abundance of caution, they decided to intercept him," said Stacey Knott, spokeswoman for North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD.

The two F-15 jets guided the plane to a landing at nearby Hagerstown, Maryland.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters described the incident as a "pilot deviation," but no other details were given of why the pilot was out of radio contact. The identity of the pilot was not disclosed.

Camp David has been a presidential weekend and holiday retreat in the nearby Maryland mountains for decades. Obama rarely goes there but flew up from Washington this weekend.

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