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Fighter Jets Escort Flight to N.C.

September 11, 2002

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Two F-16 fighter jets escorted an Egyptian-registered jet to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport on Tuesday because the crew hadn’t provided authorities with adequate paperwork, a federal official said.

The private plane’s three occupants were not considered a security risk, officials said.

The twin-engine Cessna, took off from Columbia, S.C., and was headed to Colorado, said Kathleen Bergen, a Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman in Atlanta.

Bergen said because of the plane’s foreign registration, it was required to file ``appropriate paperwork″ before taking off. Air traffic controllers raised questions about the flight and requested it land at the closest international airport, she said.

Chris Swecker, who heads the FBI in North Carolina, said the three people aboard the plane were headed to Colorado Springs to show the aircraft to a potential buyer.

He said the pilots had filed the appropriate flight plans, but that the aircraft’s registration was to expire at midnight Tuesday.

The names of the pilot, co-pilot and passenger were not released, but Swecker identified them as an FAA employee, an F-16 pilot with the Air National Guard and a sales broker.

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