Airplane Intercepted in Martha’s Vineyard over Vacationing Obamas

'Don't be like this guy,' says NORAD.

A private airplane’s pilot found himself in trouble this week at the Vineyard after unwittingly flying into the protected airspace atop the vacationing Obamas.

It’s a huge mistake to make. Imagine taking a leisurely early afternoon flight over the island in your Cessna 172, only to be intercepted by a pair of F-15 fighter jets and a Coast Guard chopper.

“Don’t be like this guy,” the North American Aerospace Defense Command tweeted on Wednesday.

Navy Lt. Marco Chouinard, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, says the fighter jets escorted the plane outside the no-go-zone to nearby Nantucket Memorial Airport, where police were waiting with a few questions. The Boston Globe reports the pilot, who hasn’t been identified, isn’t facing charges.

It’s likely that the pilot neglected to take heed of a “notice to airmen” that restricted travel over the island for the duration of the first family’s stay. A breach like that is the kind of thing Chouinard says NORAD constantly tries to warn amateur aviators about, at air shows, during flight training, and online. Would it have been a frightening experience to all of a sudden be intercepted midair like that?

“I would imagine,” Choinard says.

The president and his family are spending two weeks in Chilmark, where Obama also showed up at a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton this week. They’ll be there until August 21.