Aviation | Drones | New York | News

Pilot Reports Seeing 'Unmanned Drone' Near JFK: VIDEO


What's hovering in the skies over NYC?

The Alitalia pilot spotted the unmanned craft — described as “a black drone” — hovering just 200 feet from his jet about three miles east of the airport as he made his approach from Brooklyn.

“He was very clear as to what he saw,” a source said.

The pilot told investigators the object was flying at about 1,800 feet and looked like “a black drone about a meter square, with helicopter rotors on the corners.”

“It didn’t require the pilot of the jet to take any evasive action, and it didn’t interfere with the aircraft,” a source said.

The pilot landed safely.

Watch the CBS This Morning report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I love CBS This Morning -- and am a regular viewer -- because they actually cover the news (imagine that) and have interesting interviews and guests. Today and GMA may as well belong to the entertainment division, from my perspective.

    And one thing that makes each broadcast all the more endearing: Charlie Rose is incapable of reading a teleprompter. Just completely useless. Somehow makes me love him more.

    Posted by: Lars | Mar 5, 2013 12:30:07 PM

  2. Good thing those drones are keeping an eye on them Alitalia flights; you never know about them eye-talians. They could be gettin' all Arribaita'd and Puttana'd and the next thing y'know...

    Posted by: Kile Ozier | Mar 5, 2013 12:40:17 PM

  3. 200'!? That's dangerously close! Curious the jet wasn't vectored. The jet crew and any passengers who saw it must have been freaking badly.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Mar 5, 2013 12:52:05 PM

  4. What the hell was a drone doing in airspace over NY? Is the government going to start placing this over major cities to secure the airspace? It sounds like a Ray Bradbury novel come to life...

    Posted by: RONTEX | Mar 5, 2013 12:59:21 PM

  5. How do think Google Earth is supposed to get their data which they will then sell to the government or vise versa? This is not surprising.

    Posted by: ty | Mar 5, 2013 1:14:31 PM

  6. We live in scary, scary times

    Posted by: Stephen | Mar 5, 2013 8:23:57 PM

  7. Most likely it's a small model civilian owned aircraft, what's shocking to me is that they can actually fly that high. 1800 ft?

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Mar 5, 2013 10:13:01 PM

  8. Given the drone's small size (about a meter, roughly square but not very thick), it has a small radar cross section. A quick web search indicated that FAA radar uses frequencies just under 3 GHz, corresponding to a wavelength of around 30 cm. The drone (assuming it is a scaled up version of the 'toy' ones I've seen) in one dimension was about 3 wavelengths wide and a fraction of a wavelength thick. It's too small to reflect electromagnetic radiation very well. Also, these drones, being lightweight vehicles, are made mostly out of plastic, not metal, which reduces the amount of radiation reflected even more. ATC most likely did not know the drone was there.

    The good news: unless it went through the cockpit windows or into an engine, chances are that a collision would do hardly any damage to the aircraft due to the drone being pretty fragile.

    Still, you don't want things like that in airspace used by a major airport.

    It's possible that the drone was there by accident - i.e., if it went out of range of the person controlling it.

    Posted by: Bill | Mar 6, 2013 1:41:06 AM

  9. hey, I'm all for ad supported reading in my RSS feed, but can you do something about the ones that play audio? it's very disrupting to the quiet environment I work in and is causing me to rethink having towleroad in my feed... thanks

    Posted by: adams | Mar 6, 2013 3:54:09 PM

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