Pilot Spots Possible Drone 1,500 Feet Above NYC's JFK Airport... FAA launches investigation

A Drone? A Really Big Bird? A UFO? What Did Alitalia Pilot See Near JFK?

FAA Looking Into Pilot's Claim Of Seeing Unmanned Or Remote-Piloted Aircraft

LINK: News Story

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A mystery in the sky over New York City on Monday got one commercial airline pilot’s attention.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a report from the pilot, who claims he saw an unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on his final approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The pilot, who was at the controls of Alitalia Flight AZA 60, spotted what may have been a drone about four to five miles southeast of the airport at an altitude of 1,500 feet while on final approach to Runway 31 Right at about 1:15 p.m.

The Alitalia flight landed safely minutes later.

Please stay with CBSNewYork.com for more on this developing story

Views: 10045

Comment by Nathaniel Caner on March 4, 2013 at 7:30pm

Great just what I need here in NY state. I was happy to wee that NY wasn't on the list of states currently conmsidering legislation to ban 'Drones', now who knows what will happen. When will people learn their actions are being watched very closely!

Comment by Jason Short on March 4, 2013 at 7:48pm

My goodness, the comments in that thread are from paranoid psychotics...

Comment by Peter Meister on March 4, 2013 at 7:50pm
He did not say he viewed a drone 5 miles away from him, he said he viewed a drone where he was on final 1500ft at 5 miles from airport...that's how I am reading it....

Comment by Dany Thivierge on March 4, 2013 at 7:51pm

humm I dont think the object was 4-5 miles from him.... but 4-5 miles from the airport... could be where the plane was as well... 

Anyhow... we dont need that publicity!

The pilot, who was at the controls of Alitalia Flight AZA 60, spotted what may have been a drone about four to five miles southeast of the airport at an altitude of 1,500 feet while on final approach to Runway 31 Right at about 1:15 p.m.

Comment by Jordi Orlando on March 4, 2013 at 9:44pm

All the comments are distressing to say the least. I'm currently eating a bag of popcorn and reading through them. Sometimes the single-mindedness of people is amazing to me. In my opinion, the general public needs to be educated on all the non-militaristic uses of drones and learn to make educated decisions about new technology.

Comment by Noth666 on March 5, 2013 at 1:52am
I think its goof that the FAA is looking into this, and if it was a drone of some kind I hope they nab whoever flew it. This is indeed not e type of publicity our hobby needs.
What i wish they would stress is that this is illegal, we do not need more regulation, its there already. Atleast to me it sounds illegal beyond the altitude as well, as it woud fall into the approach airspafe if jfk in 3d terms.
Comment by Martin on March 5, 2013 at 6:56am

Other news has pilot stating he saw it hovering at 1500ft. So no bird, plane, Trappy involved. Could be a pant load just to get the bans going virial.

Comment by Patrick McKay on March 5, 2013 at 7:29am

The  same thing happened in Denver about a year ago. Ultimately turned out to be one of those Chinese lantern thingies I believe.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on March 5, 2013 at 7:43am

Chinese Lanterns...  bunch of dummies up near my parents cottage in the northern forests of Canada, let a bunch of those things go flying one night.  Just let them go, in a forest, during an extremely high forest fire risk warning (drought) period!  Dummies don't just fly drones. ;)

Anyway... technically speaking, I thought the 400ft limit was actually only if you are within a 1/4 mile of on airport?

I keep getting mixed signals on this point.  Everybody talks as if the 400 ft limit applies everywhere, but I've also seen it that it's only if you're close to an airport?

Which is it?

Comment by Patrick McKay on March 5, 2013 at 9:25am

The truth is just about everyone has that wrong. In reality, there IS NO 400 ft limit, at least not in any sort of legally binding sense. The FAA recommends that model aircraft stay below 400 feet at all times, but that recommendation is given in an Advisory Circular that is not in any way legally binding or enforceable. There are in fact no legally binding laws or regulations on hobbyist model aircraft in the US at this time. All the news articles and plenty of statements I've even seen from Chris Anderson on here constantly get that wrong.

The truth is hobbyists can fly as high as they please and there's not a darn thing the FAA can do about it unless they can prove it rises to the level of "reckless operation of an aircraft." I have that directly from an FAA safety officer who called me up last summer harassing me about flying my FPV plane around my college campus in Virginia.

Now the AMA has taken the FAA's 400 foot recommendation and incorporated it into their safety code, but tweaked it to only apply within 3 miles of an airport. The AMA's safety code is likewise not legally binding an only governs AMA members flying at AMA fields. Now the coming FAA regulations might very well have the effect of giving the AMA rules the force of law, but until that happens, the AMA Safety Code has no legal force whatsoever.

So to answer your question, the 400 foot limit is a myth. Have fun flying. :)


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