It’s not often the deadly serious nature of a fighter intercept is greeted with roaring approval from the commander in chief and his political supporters but a NORAD F-16 took center stage at a Trump rally last week. The Viper was scrambled to confront an aircraft that had strayed into the TFR around President Donald Trump’s campaign stop in Bullhead City, Arizona. The errant aircraft actually got pretty close to the rally and the intercept, complete with warning flares, happened in full view of the president and the crowd. It was also apparently misinterpreted by both.
“Oh, look at that, look, look, look, they gave the president a little display,” a clearly delighted Trump told the crowd. Had the errant pilot not finally responded to the military’s peaceful warnings what was scheduled to happen next would have been even more impressive but the drama ended there. “The violating aircraft was non-responsive to initial intercept procedures, but established radio communications after NORAD aircraft deployed signal flares,” NORAD Command said in a Twitter statement later. “The aircraft was escorted out of the restricted area by the NORAD aircraft without further incident.” No details were released on the identity or origin of the TFR-busting aircraft.