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Drone over Brooklyn: Pilot Claims To Have Seen Unmanned Plane While On Approach At JFK Airport

Travelers Today       By    Antranig Dereyan

Updated: Mar 05, 2013 01:48 PM EST

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A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle assigned to the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California.(Photo : Reuters)

It is one thing to go after terrorist in the Middle East, but when unmanned drone planes start being seen hovering over New York City, something is up.

According to a report on CNN.com, the pilot of an Alitalia passenger jet reported spotting "a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft" while on final approach to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. The object was flying over Brooklyn, four to five miles west of the airport, at an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet, according to the pilot.

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This has caused the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to investigate the issue.

According a statement sent to CNN by FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown. "The sighting was approximately four to five miles west of the airport."

New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly recently said that he was interested in procuring drones for use in law enforcement, but the NYPD told CNN it had no knowledge of a drone flight on Monday. And when air traffic controllers radioed other pilots in the area and asked them to look out for the flying object, no one else spotted it.

Forbes.com says that the pilot "most likely spotted a recreational remote-controlled model aircraft, and mistook it for an unmanned drone. Many 'toy' planes are capable of reaching altitudes far in excess of 1,500 feet, and some of them are quite large. Some RC companies even sell models that look just like the Predator drones used by the U.S. military. FAA regulations limit model planes to a maximum flight altitude of 400 feet, but it's not hard to imagine an RC fan flaunting that limit."

It most be noted here that unauthorized flights near or around airports poses a threat--they could collide with a passenger aircraft. and that in 2012, the FAA established the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office to figure out how to certify and regulate drone traffic in U.S. airspace.

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