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Sun, Feb 19, 2012

Pilot Of C182 Detained After Violating LA TFR

Authorities Discover Pot On Board When Inspecting The Aircraft After Intercept

Failure to check NOTAMS has landed the pilot of a Cessna 182 in hot water. He was detained at Long Beach International Airport on Thursday after busting a TFR in southern California and reportedly flying too close to the President's helicopter. And the TFR violation turned out to be only the beginning of his troubles.

LA Area Sectional

The pilots of Marine One could reportedly clearly see the Cessna, and the president was not in danger at any time, according to authorities.

The Cessna was intercepted by a pair of Air Force F-16s and directed to land at Long Beach, where the pilot, who has not been identified, was detained and questioned. The Wall Street Journal reports that marijuana was found aboard the plane, but officials did not specifically say in what quantity.

The Cessna was flying in airspace that would be considered legal under normal circumstances at 4,000 feet directly above LAX in VFR conditions. But with the President arriving at the airport for a departure to San Francisco, a TFR was in place over the airport extending out 30 miles. The pilot, thinking he was legal for VFR, also thought he was not required to be in contact with ATC and did not respond when attempts were made to contact him. He had not filed a flight plan.

While the pilot can lose his flying privileges and have his pilot certificate suspended for violating the TFR, this pilot has other problems as well. His reason for not filing a flight plan may have been connected to what sources close to the investigation say was as much as 40 pounds of pot aboard the the Cessna. While Secret Service agents determined that the pilot's intent was not to harm the President, he'll be facing charges related to the cargo, which he said he originally assumed was the reason he was intercepted in the first place.

FMI: http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html

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