August 5, 2011

USA: Jets scrambled when elderly woman's plane violates airspace

CHICAGO, Illinois / CNN International / News / August 5, 2011

From Marlena Baldacci, CNN

A 75-year-old Illinois woman flying her kit plane violated restricted airspace during a presidential visit to Chicago and was intercepted by two F-16 fighter jets, authorities said.

The fighter jets (file photo) intercepted a Kitfox Model 2 aircraft when it violated a temporary restricted airspace Wednesday evening in Chicago, said Lt. Col. Mike Humphreys of the North American Aerospace Defense Command. Humphreys said the military planes escorted the small aircraft back to its home airport at Mill Rose Farm in Barrington, Illinois.

By the time local police showed up on scene, the plane was already in its hangar, said Sgt. Sam Parma of the South Barrington Police Department.

Parma said Myrtle Rose of South Barrington, Illinois, flies almost every day and was not aware President Barack Obama was in Chicago on Wednesday. South Barrington is a suburb about 30 miles northwest of Chicago.

Obama was in Chicago to attend fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee and his re-election effort.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said the agency is investigating what may have been a violation of a temporary flight restriction from a small single-engine plane. But the spokeswoman, Elizabeth Isham Cory, said she could not release the name of the individual or where the individual was flying to or from because the investigation is underway.

Rose will not face any local charges, but the FAA has yet to decide what action it might take with regards to her piloting license, authorities said.

South Barrington police said Rose either didn't have her radio on, or the radio was not functioning,

Parma said the plane had a male name, but could not recall what Rose called it.

Rose did not return a phone message from CNN.

CNN's Simon Hernandez-Arthur and Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report

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