updated 11/22/2010 6:16:12 PM ET 2010-11-22T23:16:12

U.S. fighter jets intercepted a small plane flow by a student pilot after it crossed into restricted airspace in the Washington area, military and aviation officials said Monday.

The two F-16 fighters launched by the North American Aerospace Defense Command escorted the Cessna 172 to the airport in Manassas, Va., officials said.

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The plane landed without incident just after 2:30 p.m. Monday and was met by law enforcement personnel, they said.

A lone student pilot was at the controls of the Cessna, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said. The plane had taken off from Warrenton, Va., earlier in the day, she said.

Air traffic controllers were unable to make contact with the plane before it crossed into restricted airspace, she said. The plane penetrated the outer ring of the restricted area over Virginia, but not the inner ring, she said.

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