December 19, 2022
A low-flying fighter jet that brought a loud rumble over parts of the Philadelphia region on Monday morning was an escort sent to guide another aircraft out of restricted airspace, the North American Aerospace Defense Command confirmed.
The F-15 jet flew over Philly and the surrounded suburbs around 9:20 a.m., prompting questions on social media about why a military plane would be in the area.
Anyone know why jet fighter was circling Lower Merion Schuylkill River area this hour? pic.twitter.com/nHazMhRPXT— Pete Bannan (@PeteBannan) December 19, 2022
Anyone have a non terrifying answer as to why there are fighter jets circling my neighborhood this Monday morning? pic.twitter.com/IprjLpIszM— Joe Pop (@JoePops_) December 19, 2022
Sounded like super slow moving fighter jets were just over Philly. Didn’t see anything though…anyone know what that was about?— Ashley Peskoe (@ashleypeskoe) November 18, 2022
A spokesperson for NORAD, which protects airspace in the United State and Canada, told the Inquirer the jet was responding to a civilian Cessna plane that had entered a temporary flight restriction (TFR) area. The Cessna pilot did not have clearance to fly in the area.
President Joe Biden was in Delaware on Monday morning, but NORAD declined to confirm whether Biden's presence in Wilmington at the time was the reason for the flight restriction. A TFR is typically put in place whenever the president is traveling.
NORAD told NBC10 that it “employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response.”
A similar response from NORAD came twice in the span of a week in Southern California in October, including an afternoon when Biden was giving a speech in Santa Ana. In that instance, an F-16 fighter jet intercepted a Cessna plane that flew within 12 miles of Biden's event, entering restricted airspace. Incidents such as these are fairly common and usually result from pilot error.
During another incident in June, two fighter jets responded to a private plane that inadvertently flew near the Biden family's vacation home in Rehoboth Beach. The president and his wife, Jill, were briefly evacuated from the property until the unapproved aircraft was escorted out of the restricted area.