Three single-engine planes violated restricted airspace established over the Los Angeles area today during a fundraising visit by President Barack Obama, but authorities do not believe he was ever in any danger.
A Mooney M20 violated the airspace near Fullerton about 6 a.m. and landed at Chino Airport, said Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration. The pilot was detained by police, at the request of federal officials, until the Secret Service arrived.
Two F-16 fighter jets were deployed about three hours later to intercept two other aircraft. A Cessna 206 was intercepted about 9 a.m., and a Cherokee PA 28 about a half-hour later, 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 FAA for further instructions, Lewis said.
Those planes also landed at Chino Airport, according to broadcast reports.
Today's incidents brought to six the number of times a small plane has been 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, 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.