I bet these guys don’t want to meet their bosses anytime soon!
As Air Force One sat on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport this morning, the North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled two F-16 fighter jets to intercept a small private plane that had invaded the airspace.
Agents interviewed the pilots before they were turned over to the Long Beach Police Department and arrested, an official said.
“We determined the incursion of restricted airspace was of no protective interest,” said Leary. In other words, no intended threat to the president.
But the pilot was in possession of narcotics, the Secret Service said.
One law enforcement source told ABC the plane was carrying 40 pounds of marijuana.
NOTAMs, which are announcements to civil aviators about things like airspaces that are temporarily restricted because, for instance, the President is there, are publicly available on the internet. It’s considered a basic part of flight planning to check for any relevant notices along the planned route, even if you’re not going to file a flight plan. Failure to do so can result in being intercepted by F-16 fighters and ordered to land under threat of death, having your load of contraband found, and being arrested for drug smuggling.
It would be especially important to check these notices when smuggling drugs. Something tells me it wouldn’t be very healthy for them to explain their error to their employers.
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[Source: ABC News article on Yahoo! News, retrieved 2/17/12]