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Another Obama visit, another three violations of restricted airspace


Mark J. Terrill/AP

President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at LAX, Thursday, May 10, 2012. Obama left Los Angeles Thursday after a series of campaign fundraisers.

For breaking temporary no-fly zones in restricted areas, NORAD dispacted F-16 fighter jets to intercept three general aviation aircraft this week during President Barack Obama's short fundraising trip to Los Angeles.

On Thursday morning, two F-16 fighters, under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, intercepted a single engine Cessna 206 around 9:00 am, and a single engine Cherokee PA 28 at approximately 9:30 am PDT.

On Wednesday, an F-16 fighter jet intercepted a Cessna 117 northwest of Los Angeles around 4:50 p.m. forcing the plane to land at Camarillo.

The FAA is investigating the incidents, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer in an email statement to the Associated Press.

Previous planes to violate the president's protected airspace include:


Surfin' LAX: Free Wi-Fi arrives at Los Angeles International Airport, possibly this summer

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners approved a plan on Monday with Advanced Wireless Group LLC (AWG) to provide free Wi-Fi internet service to travelers at Los Angeles International Airport.  

Until now, the LAX jet-set have been riding the Wi-Fi pay wave at $9.99 per session through T-Mobile. The new, free wireless internet service with AWG could begin as early as this summer, according to Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

Here's how it will work: The first 45 minutes are free. After that, users can opt to pay for additional "premium and uninterrupted" Wi-Fi service for a 24-hour period, LAWA announced. LAX representative Katherine Alvarado told KPCC that plan details were forthcoming.

AWG will be required under the 2-year agreement to operate, maintain and upgrade the system for a minimum annual guaranteed revenue to LAWA of $283,333 in the first year, $380,000 the following year, and $420,000 in year three, if options are exercised.  


F-16s intercept interloper: President Obama's restricted airspace breached again

Mercer 17277

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama makes his way aboard Air Force One.

A plane violated President Obama's protected airspace Friday and was intercepted by F-16s dispatched by NORAD.

Obama was leaving LAX (where he had arrived by helicopter from Cheviot Hills) this morning on Air Force One when the incident occurred, notes the L.A. Times.

Two military jets were sent in to respond to the breach of restricted space. "Fighters responded to a temporary flight restriction violation by a Piper 28 aircraft," NORAD said in a statement

The jets intercepted the interloping aircraft and followed it, without incident, until it landed around at approximately 9:50 a.m. where it was greeted by local law enforcement.

This is the second time restrictions to the president's airspace were disregarded in the L.A. area this year. The previous situation involved a Cessna that picked the wrong week to allegedly smuggle drugs.


Federal agents seize 5,700 pounds of ‘precursor’ chemicals at LAX – enough to make $40 million of meth

Customs and Border Protection

This large shipment of methylamine was intercepted by CBP agents at LAX in September 2011. The recent seizure at LAX was about twice as large.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents seize a lot of stuff at LAX in the course of their work -- erectile dysfunction chemicals, wanted fugitives, threatening beetles.

But one thing the CBP agents seem to encounter above all else is methylamine hydrochloride, a chemical used to make methamphetamines.

The latest seizure came earlier this month, agents announced today, as 5,700 pounds of the chemical -- several barrels’ worth -- were headed through LAX from China on their way to Mexico.

The Daily News reports that two shipments were intercepted on April 19 and 23. The chemicals theoretically could have been used to make roughly 3,600 pounds of meth -- worth about $40 million. They can also be used to make ecstasy.

Or they can be used for legitimate purposes. The CBP states that “Methylamine hydrochloride is a corrosive, flammable, strong odor chemical essential to manufacture methamphetamine and ecstasy. Methylamine hydrochloride has legitimate industrial applications in pesticides, solvents and pharmaceutical products.”


May Day demonstration leads to arrests at LAX

May Day Rally LAX

Michael Juliano/KPCC

A man flashes the camera a smile as he's led away in handcuffs. Arrests have begun at a May Day rally centered on LAX International Airport.

May Day Rally LAX

Michael Juliano/KPCC

Police begin arresting protesters at LAX, working their way down a line of seated rally-goers.

May Day Rally LAX

Michael Juliano/KPCC

Protesters sit Indian-style on the ground, chanting the phrase "Respect at LAX," as police officers look on.

Michael Juliano/KPCC

LAPD begin arrests of May Day protesters at LAX.

Michael Juliano/KPCC

Labor organizers marched from terminal to terminal at LAX on Tuesday.

May Day 2012

Michael Juliano/ KPCC

The scene at LAX as protesters rally for better working conditions.

LAPD have started arresting May Day demonstrators at Los Angeles International Airport. Protestors staged civil disobedience and blocked an intersection near LAX as part of a May Day strike.

At least 10 protesters planned to get arrested, according to reports. Officials were seen handcuffing and removing people from the crowd this afternoon.

Employees picketed the airport en masse and marched to protest non-union jobs  The airport has not reported any major service disruption as a result of the rally.

Follow our continuing updates on the May Day protests in downtown Los Angeles.

Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner