Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press
Flocks of geese are not the only airborne hazards pilots will be watching for around New York City’s airports, after one captain reported passing a drone on Monday afternoon.About 1:15 p.m., the pilot of an Alitalia jet arriving from Rome told air traffic controllers that he had spotted a small drone or model aircraft as he approached John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said. He said he was about four miles southeast of the airport when he saw the “drone,” which he said was about 1,500 feet off the ground.
That location would have put it near the South Shore of Long Island in Nassau County. Westbound planes headed for runway 31R at Kennedy Airport usually fly along the coastline.
Aviation officials had no ready explanation for what the pilot reported. The Federal Aviation Administration said it would investigate the sighting of a “small unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft.”
The F.B.I. started investigating the report on Monday, a bureau spokesman said. He said the pilot told the authorities that a small, unmanned aircraft flew within 200 feet of the jet as it was preparing to land.
The jet was not come so close to the small craft that the pilot had to take any “evasive action,” the aviation administration said. The Alitalia flight landed safely and its passengers exited normally.
It was not immediately clear if anyone else saw the object, which the pilot reported as being black and featuring several propellers, a person familiar with the inquiry said.
One federal official said he could not recall another report of a drone sighting near a New York City airport, but said it was possibly the object spotted was a model aircraft operated by a civilian. The New York Police Department sent a helicopter from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn to search for the aircraft but it was not found, the official said.
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