A commercial pilot reported seeing a drone loitering near his aircraft as he was preparing to land on Monday. The FAA has tried to go to great lengths to make sure drones do not collide with piloted aircraft.
The news that a commercial pilot has reported seeing a drone loitering near his aircraft as he was preparing to land at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday raises some intriguing questions as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are poised to become increasingly common in America’s skies.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has confirmed that it has launched an investigation of the incident, in which the Alitalia pilot reported that “he saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right at John F. Kennedy International Airport at about 1:15 pm,” according to an agency statement.
“The pilot did not take evasive action. The flight landed safely,” the FAA said.
The FAA goes to great lengths to make sure drones do not collide with piloted aircraft. Most drones used by law-enforcement agencies, for example, are not permitted by fly above 400 feet.
President Obama signed a bill last year directing the FAA to further open US airspace to drones for both public and private use.
The drone that was reportedly sighted on Monday was flying at 1,500 feet, according to the pilot and the FAA statement.
The New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a bulletin saying it is also investigating the incident and is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating the unmanned aircraft and its operator on the ground.
“The unmanned aircraft was described as black in color and no more than three feet wide with four propellers,” according to the FBI statement.