U.S. federal aviation officials say a plane carrying Michelle Obama aborted a landing Monday after coming too close to a military cargo jet.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a Boeing 737, one of the fleet of presidential passenger jets, came within five kilometres of a massive C-17 as the planes were approaching Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to land.

The FAA requires a minimum separation of eight kilometres between the planes to avoid dangerous wake turbulence.

Andrews air traffic controllers ordered Mrs. Obama's plane to abort its landing and circle the airport to give the larger plane time to clear the runway.

The FAA is investigating the incident as a possible error by controllers at a regional radar facility in Warrenton, Va.