Pilot sights black drone during approach to JFK airport

This one is a bit of a mystery.

FAA investigating report of drone spotted near NYC.

Was that a drone flying over metro New York Monday?

That’s what a pilot for Italian carrier Alitalia reported seeing from the cockpit of a flight landing at New York’s JFK Airport. The pilot informed the air traffic control tower, and now his spotting has drawn the attention of both Federal Aviation Administration and counter-terrorism officials.

“The FAA is investigating a report… he saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right,” FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown says in a statement quoted by CNN. “The sighting was approximately four to five miles (from) the airport at an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet.”

That altitude is a problem. FAA guidelines dictate that you can only fly these devices to 400 feet high and must alert air traffic control if within three miles of an airport. Due to safety, they wouldn’t want you there anyway. In this episode of Virtual Skeptics we discussed drones and why it is illegal to use them for many purposes. But permits can be granted in some situations. Could it have been for traffic surveillance?

The pilot seems sure but NO ONE can be sure what they observe, not even pilots who can also be fooled. The UFO community is having a run at this report as well. But regardless of that, unless it was a bird or an optical illusion, it is concerning that something was observed to be there. Other pilots were warned but did not see anything.

More from CS Monitor: The drone was described as “black in color and no more than three feet wide with four propellers,” according to an FBI statement.

  7 comments for “Pilot sights black drone during approach to JFK airport

  1. March 5, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    The report of four motors makes me very suspicious of this. I have never seen any drones with four props on that small of a plane. Maybe its a home built craft? Which would explain why it was violating FAA rules and flying there.

  2. March 5, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Great – now the aliens are disguising their ships to look like drones.

  3. Richard Cornford
    March 5, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    “black and no more than three feet wide with four propellers” is a description that would be entirely consistent with a quadcopter style (helicopter like) drone.


  4. Gary
    March 6, 2013 at 8:04 AM

    I have a friend who has one that he operates with his iPhone. Do they get excited if they see a silver balloon with “Happy Birthday” on it”?

  5. March 6, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    ahhh yes thanks from the vague description it could have been a quadracopter. thanks

  6. Flucksy
    March 9, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    It sounds exactly like those remote controlled helocopters. Funny, they have cameras on some of them and I’ve seen videos on YouTube of those things being outfitted with small caliber guns. Sooo, the guy could have seen a drone or something some guy was doing as a hobby which could have been used for the same thing that most people think drones are.

  7. spookyparadigm
    March 9, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    Drones are the new black helicopters

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