The idea of drones over New York City have inspired art projects and a rap song. Now they may be a reality too. The FAA is investigating a report from an Alitalia passenger jet of a drone spotting over Brooklyn, as he approached JFK airport in Queens. "We saw a drone, ad drone aircraft," the pilot told controllers, according to audio played on Good Morning America, below.
The FAA told CNN in a statement that it is "investigating a report... he saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right... The sighting was approximately four to five miles west of the airport at an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet." No other pilots reported seeing the drone, according to CNN.
Without any more description it's impossible to tell if this might be some sort of heavy-duty unmanned aerial vehicle, or a hobbyist remote controlled gadget, which we know take to the skies occasionally around New York. In any event, the NYPD doesn't currently use drones in New York, but it's only a matter of time.
On Monday, March, 4, 2013, at approximately 1:15 p.m., the pilot of Alitalia Flight #608 spotted a small, unmanned aircraft while on approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The Alitalia flight was roughly three miles from runway 31R when the incident occurred at an altitude of approximately 1,750 feet. The unmanned aircraft came within 200 feet of the Alitalia plane.
The FBI is investigating the incident and looking to identify and locate the aircraft and its operator. The unnamed aircraft was described as black in color and no more than three feet wide with four propellers.
Update II: a Tipster points out that Floyd Bennet Field in Brooklyn, just a few miles from JFK, is a favorite spot for remote-controlled plane enthusiasts to fly. It even hosts an R/C air show in the summer. Maybe the drone launched from there?