fighter jets

F-15 Fighter Jets Intercepted 2nd Plane Over LI Hours After NYC Breach During Biden Visit

The second intercept happened hours after the Manhattan one and was not believed to be related, NORAD said

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F-15 fighter jets intercepted not one but two civilian aircraft that entered restricted airspace in New York when President Joe Biden was in town for the United Nations General Assembly a day ago, The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed Thursday. The two incidents were said to be unrelated.

Two NORAD F-15s responded to a civilian aircraft 15 nautical miles southeast of New York City around 5:30 p.m., about six hours after another F-15 intercepted a different small plane that ended up in the temporarily restricted zone. As in the other case, the fighter jets escorted the civilian aircraft out of the area without further incident.

Details on the second aircraft weren't immediately available Thursday. People on the north shore of Nassau County, though, reported seeing it the prior evening.

The Federal Aviation Administration had said Wednesday it was looking into the first case, which happened as the president was in Manhattan to deliver his address to the United Nations. It pledged to take enforcement action as appropriate depending on the outcome of the investigation.

NORAD says it tried to communicate with the civilian pilot, who was flying a Cessna 172, a single-engine private plane, but the pilot didn't respond to radio calls. The F-15 responded when the Cessna was about 20 nautical miles east of Manhattan, and the latter entered the restricted zone around 11:40 a.m. It was escorted out in less than 20 minutes.

The FAA says the Cessna flight departed from Long Island's MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma. While it doesn't release details of ongoing investigations, generally speaking, pilots who violate restricted flight zones can face sanctions ranging from warnings to license suspensions or revocations. The sanctions are circumstance-dependent.

There was no indication of malintent from NORAD, which monitors aircraft as part of its aerospace warning and control missions for the United States and Canada. NORAD tracks Santa, too, so you've likely heard of it before.

It's a binational command focused on defending both the U.S. and Canada utilizing forces from the two countries.

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