At least 12 airplanes violated temporary flight restrictions during President Donald Trump’s visit to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach last weekend, prompting military aircraft to intervene and buzz at least five of them.
The encounters “required the Air Force F-15s to travel at supersonic speeds, a sound noticed by area residents,” the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) confirmed in a release, the Palm Beach Daily News reported. The planes took 14 minutes to travel 75 miles from Homestead.
Over the weekend, eight of the violations occurred on Friday: F-15 jets flew alongside two of the violators, and a military helicopter did the same with a third, according to the Daily News.
The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday the pilots’ identities and registration numbers of the planes will remain confidential pending investigation. It was unclear, according to the Daily News, whether violations had also occurred during the president’s previous two weekend visits.
“The FAA will investigate each incident and will take appropriate enforcement action. The FAA also will continue to conduct outreach to educate local pilots about the restrictions,” the agency said in a statement.
Not having radios tuned in is the cause of most temporary flight-restriction violations, a NORAD spokesperson told the Daily News. The pilot involved in Sunday’s incident also had no radio communication until the F-15 jets got close.
The U.S. Secret Service dictates certain flight restrictions whenever a president is in town, limiting Lantana airport’s traffic and imposing limits at other Palm Beach County airports.
Aviation businesses at Palm Beach International Airport and the county’s three general aviation airports say Trump’s last two weekend stays at Mar-a-Lago have cost them about $250,000 in business, the Daily News reported. [Palm Beach Daily News] — Gabrielle Paluch