PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) — A general aviation aircraft that got too close to restricted airspace near Palm Beach County had to be escorted away by the U.S. Air Force for the second time this weekend.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a Temporary Flight Restriction in the area due to President Trump being in town at his Mar-O-Lago estate.
Many South Floridians reported hearing and seeing fighter jets in the air.
An F-16 was sent in to investigate Sunday afternoon after the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the plane was “out of communication.”
“Once they were close enough, they were able to establish communications with the general aircraft pilot and let them know they were in a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) and needed to get out,” said a spokesperson from NORAD.
The pilot was compliant and immediately left the area.
“The civil aviation plane seemed to be in contact either by radio or visual with the jet because the jet was instructing him to maneuver and the civil aviation plane acted accordingly,” said witness Matt Cardella.
Military jets have been monitoring the airspace all weekend.
“There’s a lot of tactics and procedures that go through to decide whether we’re going to send a military jet to investigate or try to re-establish radio communications with that aircraft,” said Air Force SMSgt. Chuck Marsh.
NORAD added that Sunday’s “incident did not require the pilot to generate a sonic boom.”
On Friday, military jets were sent to intercept an aircraft that flew too close to President Trump’s rally in Melbourne and was not communicating with air traffic control. Many South Floridians reported hearing a “sonic boom” from the jets in action.
“Whenever the president’s here, we do set up the temporary flight restriction areas and we enforce those areas,” said SMSgt. Marsh. “So if folks do look up there, they’re probably going to see some military aircraft patrolling those areas.”
The president spent the weekend in his West Palm Beach home.
“There have been a number of private planes violating Trump related flight restrictions in South Florida,” said U.S. Northern Command. “U.S. military jets went supersonic in one instance resulting in a boom that alarmed local residents.”
Investigators are looking into why the pilot on Sunday could not communicate with the FAA.
Officials said they are working with the FAA to make the flight restriction notices more available to pilots to keep them aware of the Temporary Flight Restrictions when in place.