Feds investigating drones spotted flying near JFK runways

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 20, 2014 2:08 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three commercial pilots reported seeing drones, some flying as high as 3,000 feet, near their landing approaches at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and federal authorities on Thursday were investigating.

Both the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration said they were looking into the reports, the most recent of which came on Wednesday at 1:50 p.m. The pilot of JetBlue Flight 842 from Savannah, Georgia, noticed an unmanned craft about two miles from the runway, the FAA said in a statement.

"We are aware of it and are looking into it with our partners," FBI spokesman Chris Sinos said.

Pilots of two other passenger planes reported seeing a drone flying at altitudes of between 2,000-3,000 feet on their final approach to the airport just after 8 p.m. on Sunday, the FAA statement said.

The unmanned craft was seen about 10 miles from the runway, according to information given to authorities by the pilot of Delta Air Lines Flight 383 from San Diego and the pilot of Virgin Atlantic Flight 9 from London.

Hobbyists who fly drones must follow the same rules as those for model aircraft - no higher than 400 feet and no closer than 5 miles to an airport, with the flying object always visible to the operator, said FAA spokesman Jim Peters.

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None of the three pilots took evasive action, the FAA said.

"All three flights landed safely," the FAA statement said.

In July, a New York police helicopter was forced off course at 2,000 feet in the dark skies near the George Washington Bridge by a drone that flew too close. Two New York men were arrested on charges of reckless endangerment.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Sandra Maler)