FBI checking pilot's report of drone during JFK airport landing

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 05, 2013 12:14 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The FBI on Tuesday was investigating a commercial pilot's report that an unmanned aircraft came within 200 feet of the passenger plane he was landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration also sought information after the pilot of Alitalia Flight 60U from Rome to New York reported the drone sighting at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, said FAA spokesman, Jim Peters.

"He saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31," the FAA said in a statement.

The craft, which was flying at an altitude of about 1,750 feet, came within 200 feet of the Alitalia plane, FBI Special Agent in Charge John Giacalone said in a statement.

It was described as black and no more than three-feet wide with four propellers, the FBI said.

The Alitalia plane, a Boeing 777-200, took no evasive action and landed safely, Peters said.

"The FBI is asking anyone with information about the unmanned aircraft or the operator to contact us," FBI Agent Giacalone said in a statement.

Under FAA safe operating rules, model aircraft should be flown no higher than 400 feet above ground and no closer to an airport than 3 miles, unless airport authorities have been notified.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)