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By Ashley Ludwig
On a crystal clear Temecula day, the skies were quiet until an out of place Cessna had F-16s scrambling on Wednesday, August 7, 2013.
Citizens may have noticed light to no air traffic and a cessation of last week’s thundering from Camp Pendleton’s war games for President Obama’s Camp Pendleton visit. Down in San Diego, this reporter watched normal military boat, ship, and helicopter traffic all but doubled over a 24 hour period.
When at 11:52 a.m. all eyes in mid Temecula looked to the skies toward the roar of F-16s doing what they do best, protecting restricted air space.
The Cessna started its flight out of French Valley airport — owned by an Orange-based corporation, was southeast bound and 7.5 miles northwest of Lake Elsinore when it entered the restricted area, according to City News Service.
Two F-16s immediately responded to the Cessna, which is reported to have been “unresponsive.”
Temecula resident, Stephanie McKay notified The Temecula Grapevine with this report, “The f-16s were doing barrel rolls over the house. If that plane didn’t know he was in a no fly zone, he certainly did after that performance!”
Another resident, Dona Watson, missed the initial fly by but witnessed the aftermath, “Every car alarm on the street was set off!”
Reader and author Beverly Nault reported, “while I didn’t see the fighter do any barrel rolls or any other dangerous maneuvers over populated areas, I only saw him protecting the restricted air space around the visiting POTUS. It was a display of our military’s finest doing what they are trained to do, and I’m proud that nothing happened to endanger anyone, civilian or otherwise. Thanks to our military for being cautious and responsive.”
According to city news reports, the Cessna turned around and exited the restricted area and landed by the pilot at Corona Municipal Airport. No additional information on the pilot or his change of flight plan is available at this time.