Police & Fire

Photos Surface from the Air Intercept over the Somerset Hills

A fighter jet flying over Northwestern New Jersey to intercept a private plane on July 15, 2017. Credits: N. Sullivan
A Coast Guard helicopter intercepts a private aircraft on July 15, 2017. Credits: N. Sullivan

SOMERSET HILLS NJ - Somerset Hills residents have become accustomed to weekend visits from President Trump.   However, this past weekend there was a twist.   That twist came in the form of the roar of a fighter jet intercepting an errant private aircraft.

President Trump attended the LPGA United States Womens Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.  Accordingly, the Federal Aviation Administration activated the Presidential Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) around Trump National.  During a TFR, there is a no-fly zone in a ten nautical mile radius around the club, and flight restrictions in a thirty nautical mile radius around the club.

At 7:53 PM on Saturday, authorities reported that a single engine Cessna entered restricted airspace over the club.

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The alleged violation of restricted airspace triggered a military response.

According to an industry source, a Coast Guard helicopter is stationed at Bedminster Airport during a TFR.   The helicopter is equipped with a zipper message board to communicate with the pilot, and advising the pilot to contact the helicopter by radio.  According to that same source, if the pilot does not respond in the right manner, then a fighter jet will then intercept the plane.

The developing scene caught the attention of a private citizen, who took the photos as the aircraft flew over Lake Mohawk in Sussex County, heading north.  According to that citizen, "the fighter, which was definitely an F-22, flew circular patterns for at least 20 minutes.  Some time later, maybe 40 minutes, the red Coast Guard helo returned by itself, heading southwest."


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