Pentagon Investigating After Object Seen Near Air Force One

August 18, 2020 Updated: August 18, 2020

The Pentagon is investigating after an object that seems to be a drone was reportedly flying close to Air Force One.

The event happened on Sunday when the Air Force One was landing at the Joint Base Andrews when President Donald Trump was returning from his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, to the White House.

Sebastian Smith, an AFP White House reporter, mentioned it in his Twitter post.

“@realDonaldTrump just landed at Andrews on AF1. Shortly before, while descending, we flew right over a small object, remarkably close to the president’s plane,” he wrote. “Resembled a drone though I’m no expert.”

He added in a follow-up Twitter post that the flying object has a typical drone X shape and part of it was yellow.

The 89th Airlift Wing, which is based at Joint Base Andrews and provides Special Air Mission (SAM) airlift for the president and other top executive members and military personnel, confirmed the report in a statement.

“The 89th Airlift Wing is aware of the report. The matter is under review. The 89th Airlift Wing’s C-32A aircraft landed safely without incident,” the agency said in a statement.

A custom built DJI s1000 Drone in operation at Palm Beach on July 4, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)
A custom-built DJI s1000 Drone in operation at Palm Beach in Sydney, Australia, on July 4, 2014. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules, drones are not allowed to fly within 400 feet from the lateral boundaries of 133 military facilities including Joint Base Andrews starting from April 14, 2017.

“Operators who violate the airspace restrictions may be subject to enforcement action, including potential civil penalties and criminal charges,” FAA said in a statement back in 2017.

The base is also part of the District of Columbia Flight-Restricted Zone (FRZ) which was established after Sept. 11, 2001.

The FRZ is a circle-like area about 17 miles around the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Only in rare cases are non-governmental flights allowed to fly within the FRZ, according to FAA.

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