Jets Escort Local Pilots Out of Obama's No-Fly Zone

By Sajid Farooq
|  Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011  |  Updated 6:09 AM PDT
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Jets Escort Planes Out of No-Fly Zone

Robyn Marshall

This is a photo of an unexpected flyover in Watsonville Monday.

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President Barack Obama has come and gone from the Bay Area and along with his departure comes the lifting of a temporary no-fly zone around parts of the South Bay.

But before the aerial restriction expired at 1:30 p.m. Monday, one pilot of a Stearman biplane was given a personal escort by a military fighter jet back to Watsonville airport.

The plane reportedly flew into restricted airspace over Monterey Bay while the president was in town to host to fundraisers and a town hall with LinkedIn.

Watsonville Municipal Airport Manager Rayvon Williams told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that the airport had warned pilots of the air restrictions during the president's visit.

"The reality is, pilots get lazy from time to time," he said.

The Watsonville pilot was not alone. At least three other airplanes were intercepted by fighter jets for violating the president's no-fly zone during his visit, according to NORAD's Public Affairs Officer Michael Humphreys.

In all cases, the planes were escorted out of the area without incident. It is not clear whether charges will be filed against any of the pilots.


 

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