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Planes on the tarmac and taking off, at JFK International Airport in New York, Saturday, June 2, 2007. (ULI SEIT/NYT)
Planes on the tarmac and taking off, at JFK International Airport in New York, Saturday, June 2, 2007. (ULI SEIT/NYT)

‘We saw a drone,’ says pilot above New York City Add to ...

An airline pilot reported that he saw a drone in the sky high above John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

The pilot of Alitalia Flight 60U from Rome to New York contacted authorities about the sighting at 1:15 p.m. on Monday, said Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, on Tuesday. The pilot spotted the craft at an altitude of about 1,500 feet (500 metres) and approximately five miles (eight kilometres) southeast of the airport.

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

“We saw a drone, a drone aircraft,” the pilot can be heard in a radio communication to the control tower, picked up and disseminated by the website LiveATC.net.

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

He said the FAA began its investigation into the incident on Tuesday.

Under FAA safe operating rules, model aircraft should be flown no higher than 400 feet (130 metres) above ground and no closer to an airport than three miles (approximately five kilometres), unless airport authorities have been notified.

With files from Agence France-Presse

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