Hobbyist pilots around the Bay Area may not all have gotten the memo about President Biden's visit this week and the VIP Temporary Flight Restricted area around San Francisco. And one such pilot was paid a visit in the air on Tuesday by a fighter jet.
As you likely heard, President Joe Biden has been in the Bay Area the last two days, and he leaves today. He was down on the Peninsula talking about climate change on Monday, attending fundraisers, and talking about AI at the Fairmont Hotel on Tuesday.
A military defense blog called The War Zone first reported about a Tuesday incident — one of three on Tuesday — in which an unauthorized plane tried to fly into the temporarily restricted airspace over San Francisco during Biden's visit. SFGate subsequently picked up the news, describing how a Mooney M-20J single-engine airplane was flying south over Marin before a U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II fighter jet swooped in to "headbutt" the smaller plane — getting the pilots attention to alert them to the airspace restriction.
A Marin County resident posted the video below, showing the fighter jet performing the maneuver. The video was posted at 11:35 a.m. Tuesday.
video from the intercept over Marin pic.twitter.com/XmGmhxiA7R— Josh Kline (@bobbybobbydigi) June 20, 2023
"After NOBLE 11 was cleared to 'headbutt [the aircraft] left, with no flares' over Marin County by the Western Air Defense Sector (callsign BIGFOOT), the M-20J appears to have made a speedy return to Navato[sic] Marin County Airport from where it began its journey," the War Zone reports.
NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) confirmed in a tweet that its jets had responded to "several" such violations on Tuesday.
#NORAD fighter aircraft have responded to several general aviation aircraft that violated the VIP Temporary Flight Restricted area near San Francisco this morning. All three events have concluded without incident.— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) June 20, 2023
Photo: John Torcasio