Military jets intercept small plane near Edwards Air Force Base
12:14 a.m. May 27, 2005
PALMDALE – A small plane escorted away from Edwards Air Force Base by a pair of fighter jets was carrying two men taking aerial photos for a real estate company.
The men, whose names were not released, were questioned by FBI agents for more than five hours Thursday night before being released.
"It looks like they were photographers working for a real estate company and didn't realize what altitude they were flying at," said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. "Their story checked out and they were released."
The pair's Aero Commander was intercepted by two F-15 fighter jets Thursday afternoon and escorted to Palmdale Airport.
The plane was spotted flying about 18,000 feet above the Antelope Valley, in the high desert north of Los Angeles, for several hours Thursday afternoon, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Donn Walker. The FAA contacted the Western Air Defense after the plane repeatedly approached restricted air space and could not be identified or contacted by radio.
After landing at Palmdale Airport, the two men were driven to an FBI office in nearby Lancaster, where they were questioned. They told authorities they were taking photos for a Northern California real estate business.
It wasn't immediately clear why they didn't respond to communications from the FAA.
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