FAA investigating drone flying close to airplanes near JFK
August 1st, 2015

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating two incidents in which airplanes spotted a drone flying near them as they were landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport, one of the nation's busiest airports.

One of the airplanes reportedly came within 100 feet of the unmanned aircraft.

Delta Flight 407, an MD-80 en route from Orlando, was preparing to land at 4:55 p.m. Friday at JFK when it spotted a drone flying at 100 feet about a quarter-mile from the aircraft.

The pilot did not take evasive action, the FAA said in an emailed statement. Delta spokesman Anthony Blacks said the flight carrying 149 passengers and five crew landed safely with no injuries.

JetBlue Flight 1834, an Airbus A-320, was arriving from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, earlier that day at 2:24 p.m. when the pilot also reported seeing a drone near the airport. The pilot did not take evasive action to avoid the drone, the FAA said. In the audio recording, the cockpit says the drone passed just below the plane's nose when the plane was flying at an altitude of about 800 to 900 feet.

Both airplanes landed safely. The FAA said it's investigating the incidents. It's unclear whether they were related.

JetBlue spokeswoman Kate McMillan says the airline had not confirmed the report with the crew of the aircraft.

Drones are not supposed to fly within 5 miles of an airport without notifying the control tower. They are also not supposed to fly above 400 feet.

Drones flying too close to commercial flights threaten large aircraft as they can be sucked into the engine or crash into the cockpit window, Phil Derner of NYCaviation.com told CNN affiliate WPIX.

Dave Mathewson, executive director of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, said, "No unmanned aircraft should be flying in a way that poses a risk to manned aircraft."

"The key to safe and responsible operation is education, as many newcomers to the technology don't know where they should and should not fly," Mathewson said in a statement.

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