Defense News

U.S. F-16 fighter jets intercept Cessna during U.N. General Assembly

By Jonna Lorenz   |   Sept. 22, 2021 at 3:24 PM
A U.S. Air Force F-16, like the one pictured, from the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard intercepted a small plane that strayed into restricted air space in New York during the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. File Photo by Staff Sgt. Clayton Cupit/U.S. Air Force

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. fighter jets escorted a small plane flown by a U.S. Army soldier out of restricted air space over New York City after it violated temporary flight restrictions put in place during the United Nations General Assembly.

The Cessna 182, owned by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was being flown by a U.S. Army instructor pilot when it briefly entered the TFR area over the Hudson River at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, CNN reported.

The TFR area was put in place from 4:45 p.m. Monday until 3:45 p.m. Tuesday to protect the annual U.N. General Assembly

The small plane was escorted out of the restricted area without incident, North American Aerospace Defense Command said on Twitter.

F-16 aircraft from the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard, which were on temporary duty providing air patrols for the event, intercepted the Cessna, The Drive reported.

One of the fighter aircraft flew above the Cessna and dropped its gear, signaling to the smaller plane to land.

The War Zone posted air traffic control audio of the encounter on YouTube.

West Point spokesman Lt. Col. Beth Smith confirmed the encounter to Military Times.

"A West Point fixed wing aircraft flown by an Army instructor pilot conducting a cadet flight lab in support of ME481, a civil and mechanical engineering class, briefly violated temporarily restricted airspace this afternoon near the George Washington Bridge," Smith said.

"Once the realized they had violated the airspace, they immediately left the area and returned to the airport," Smith said.