Politico first reported on the incident. A Trump spokesperson declined to comment.
The flight had traveled about 75 miles after taking off from New Orleans Lakefront Airport, reaching an altitude of about 28,000 feet before turning back, according to ADS-B Exchange tracking data. The Dassault Falcon 900 was carrying a retinue of Secret Service agents, other support staff, Trump and some of his advisers, according to people familiar with the episode. One of the plane’s engines failed, the people said.
Tracking data, reviewed by The Washington Post, shows the plane began its journey in Texas, flew to Palm Beach on Saturday afternoon and then proceeded to New Orleans. A map of the evening flight shows the plane was over water when it turned around and returned to New Orleans, heading for New Orleans Louis Armstrong International Airport .
As the plane came in to land, an air traffic controller told the pilot, “There will be vehicles following you on the runway.”
“I appreciate it,” the pilot said, according to recordings archived by LiveATC.net.
The plane belonged to a donor who lent it to Trump for the evening, according to people familiar with the matter. The plane’s tail number was linked to a Utah-based company that is the trustee of more than 1,400 planes. The identity of the donor could not immediately be verified.
Trump’s advisers worked to secure another donor’s plane, which was flown to the New Orleans airport to meet him. Trump eventually returned to Palm Beach on the plane of Craig Estey, a GOP donor and founder of Nevada Restaurant Services.
Trump did not return to his Palm Beach home until early in the morning, people familiar with the incident said.