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Fighter jets escort plane to MacArthur

Fighter jets escorted a small plane to Long

Fighter jets escorted a small plane to Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma after it flew over airspace that was temporarily restricted due to a presidential visit, authorities said. (Aug. 6, 2012) Credit: Stringer News Service

Fighter jets escorted a small plane to Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma Monday night after it flew over airspace that was temporarily restricted due to a presidential visit, authorities said.

The plane, carrying just the pilot, was flying over the Island about 6:30 p.m. despite the FAA's temporary ban on unnecessary flights because President Barack Obama landed at Kennedy Airport for a campaign stop in Connecticut.

Obama was scheduled to return to Washington late Monday night.

Two F-15 jets from the Barnes Air National Guard base in Massachusetts were dispatched by the North American Aerospace Defense Command and flew alongside the small plane until it landed about 7 p.m., Lt. Cmdr. Bill Lewis at NORAD said.

"The aircraft landed without incident," Lewis said. The pilot was met by Suffolk police, authorities said.

"He readily agreed to land at Islip, no resistance," said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters.

FAA had issued the temporary flight restriction Friday for Monday, and the ban extended into Long Island.

Usually, pilots get briefed on weather and find out what's going on along their routes, Peters said.

"It's strictly advisory," Peters said. "It's up to the pilot to be prepared for New York City takeoffs."

The FAA is investigating the incident. The pilot's identity was not released, but Peters said the plane was a home-built one, called a Kitfox, from a kit.

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