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: 10057

Comment by Patrick McKay on March 10, 2013 at 5:55pm

Sure thing. I acknowledge your view is certainly a possibility. I would love to hear the AMA's perspective on that sometime to see what they think.

Comment by Stephen R Mann on March 11, 2013 at 5:25am

Uncontrolled airspace does not mean unregulated.  Uncontrolled simply means that ATC will not provide IFR aircraft separation.  Usually because there is no radar coverage or there is no airport requiring ATC services.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on March 11, 2013 at 6:33am

personally a quadcopter at 1700ft seems somewhat... BS to say the least

I could possibly believe an octocopter but not a quad, they aren't capable of carrying the equipment needed to reach 1700ft and be able to land before the battery dies

Completely untrue.  Yesterday, I flew a mission in my quad-copter, completely hands off, for 24 minutes.  It can climb at 1m/second on autopilot.  At that rate, it would take just under 9 minutes to reach 1700' AGL, something I'm sure it could do.  (For reference, my flight only went up to 70m, and was at my club field).

I agree that this is a bit of a stretch, but it is definitely possible.  I don't think a small machine like an F450 or whatever with a 2200mAh battery pack could do it... well maybe it could, but would likely run out of power on the way down.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on March 11, 2013 at 6:37am

Public Law 112-95 was mostly written by the AMA.  The giveaway is paragraph (a)(2): "the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community- based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization;"

Otherwise it reads right out of the AMA bylaws.

Is it just me, or does it seem like the AMA is positioning itself such that, in the future, it will be illegal to fly model aircraft without being a member of the AMA?  We're not quite there yet, but it would seem that this rule/law/whatever is definitely aimed at that, and they are just waiting for the FAA to close the loop.

Comment by Stephen R Mann on March 11, 2013 at 7:20am

I think that you are reading between the lines correctly.

It's not unlike the cozy relationship between the AOPA and the FAA, or the ARRL and the FCC.  While neither private organization has any regulatory authority, they are quite influential during the NPRM phase of any new regulations because of the size of the collective population they represent.  The ARRL is so cozy with the FCC that almost all Amateur Radio examinations are done by ARRL volunteer examiners.

The problem I have with the AMA is that - simply put - they don't like us.  (Our craft are smarter than their craft).

Really, when I look at the AMA, I see their rules, their field and their insurance else you don't exist.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on March 11, 2013 at 11:50am

And... thus the need for our own organization. ;)

It's too bad, because, once all the bugs are worked out, use of a system like the APM could make traditional RC flying safer.

Comment by Dwgsparky on March 11, 2013 at 12:14pm


Not only safer but verifiable. With APM, flight logs and goefenceing I can show I am flying "legally" and safely.

At the moment the average RC guy (myself included)  can only guess how high , how fast and where he is flying.

The neighbour of the farm where I fly came to see me to discuss flying over his land recently, I showed him the flight on Google earth and he agreed that I did not fly over his land and he thanked me for respecting his privicy. .. Then after more talking took a flight with my plane and now he is a fan of APM and is happy for me to overfly his land because in his words " My flights were conducted in a safe and respectful way" no problem. My club is also fitting an APM to our trainer plane to goefence the student flights. This is good for RC

Comment by Stephen R Mann on March 11, 2013 at 12:21pm

There probably aren't enough light APM flyers interested enough to have a voice in Washington to pay for a new organization.  It would probably take $200K to start and a $150K/year sustaining fund to establish an office near Washington and to hire a full-time advocate to start working influence in the DC circuit.  One problem with the AMA is that they seem to be stuck in the mid-20th Century technology.  Autopilot missions, FPV and unconventional aircraft scare them.  Note that their middle name is "Model".  If it don't look like a Boeing, Cessna or Sikorsky, then it ain't a model.

Comment by Carl La France on March 11, 2013 at 8:16pm

The Headline above is not sure ? Drone ? Really big Bird? UFO? 4 to 5 mile 1500 ft..  CNN has it as a drone  3 miles from the air port (over water)  1750 ft (almost out of radio range vertically) passing 200 feet from the air plane . Check this out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl6iR7w7a_Q&feature=share&li... give you an idea of the turbulence coming off these things . what are the odds of a Quad landing after getting pulled into  the wake ? there has been some recent Celestial activity with the recent  meteor,  Maby it was a UFO? it was still daylight maby it was headed for the Swamp ! Have a Great day Guys! 

Comment by Jake Wells on March 11, 2013 at 8:24pm

How do you see a model plane at 5 miles? Those Italians have some great eyesight!


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