Drone over Brooklyn: A pilot on Monday said he saw a “drone aircraft” flying near the New York City borough of Brooklyn. However, it was not confirmed if it was actually a drone.
A pilot reported seeing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, over John F. Kennedy International Airport in Brooklyn on Monday afternoon.
“We saw a drone, a drone aircraft,” the pilot said in a recording obtained by CNN.
Now, the Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the matter.
“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 told the network.
She added: “The sighting was approximately four to five miles west of the airport at an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet.”
The pilot said he saw the drone around five miles southeast of JFK airport, which would place it near Atlantic Beach in Nassau County, reported NBC News.
Some passengers at JFK airport said they were startled to hear about a drone potentially hovering over New York City.
“It makes me very nervous. Very nervous,” Manuel Infante of the Rockville Centre told NBC. “A lot of cause for concern.”
Air traffic controllers warned other planes approaching the JFK runway.
It is still not clear if what the pilot saw was really a drone. At least two other pilots said they did not see it, according to CNN.
“Even the smallest drone is a substantial weight, and it could easily do damage like ripping off a part of a wing or impacting a cockpit area,” Dan Rose, who is a aviation expert and attorney, told NBC.
A spokesman with the New York City Police Department told CNN that police were not aware of the incident.
The FBI issued a call to the public asking for help identifying the aircraft. “The FBI is asking anyone with information about the unmanned aircraft or the operator to contact us,” said Special Agent in Charge John Giacalone in a statement. “Our paramount concern is the safety of aircraft passengers and crew.”
The FBI says the unnamed aircraft was black and no more than three feet wide, with four propellers. Tipsters should call the FBI at 212-384-1000 and will remain anonymous.
Drones are becoming more popular with government agencies and there has been an upswing in drone hobbyists. The FAA is planning to regulate their widespread commercial use in around two years.
Rose, however, said there needs to be more regulation.
“All the indications so far is that we’re seeing a lot more close calls and near-misses, and not more on the technology of how to avoid these near-misses,” he told NBC.
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