On October 28, at around 1400 GMT, North America’s Air Defense Command directed an F-16 to investigate a general aviation plane that had no contact with air traffic control and entered the Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) area surrounding the city of Bullhead, State Arizona, said John Cornelio, spokesman for North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) in a statement to CNN “without proper permission.”
Cornelio added that “the violating aircraft was not responding to the initial interception procedures, but it established radio communications after the Norad aircraft deployed light signals,” adding that “the Norad plane escorted the plane outside the restricted area without further accidents.”
The smaller plane was not visible to CNN reporters on the ground in Arizona, but the fighter jet could be heard overhead, prompting a reaction from the crowd and the president himself.
Trump, who appeared to have been surprised by the plane above, said the plane was “about four days old” and described his funding for the military.
“I love this sound,” Trump said to the sound of aircraft engines. “You don’t know what I went through to get these idiots out there – I had to get that money from the Democrats.”
He said the plane was “trying to show off” to him and described the flare bombs that were being deployed as a “small show” for the president.
US Secret Service agents also interacted with the unexpected presence of the aircraft during the rally, with some quickly moving towards the President, although they never took to the stage.
The crowd chanted loudly as the plane could be heard above their heads, with chants of “USA” and a man shouting, “This is the sound of freedom!”
The emergence of Arizona – where Kamala Harris, Trump’s presidential candidate and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, was due to travel on Wednesday – as a swing state could place a major focus on Trump’s election hopes and provide a major lifeline for Biden.