Last Updated:November 28 @ 05:03 pm

Commercial Pilot Spots Mystery Drone at JFK


(File Photo)

The pilot of a commercial jetliner spotted a drone aircraft hovering near his plane as he landed at JFK Airport yesterday, according to sources.

The Joint Terror Task Force is now probing the sighting of the mysterious flying object, the sources said.

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.

The JTTF launched a full-scale criminal investigation shortly after the 1:15 pm sighting, sources said. The FAA is also investigating.

While sources said there is a good chance the "drone" might have been operated by a model-aircraft enthusiast, it was still the first time veteran observers at JFK could remember one getting so close to a plane.

"In all the years I've been with the airport, I can't remember a similar incident," one investigator said.

"Whether this is a hobbyist or not, it raises serious concerns."


Originally published by Philip Messing.

(c) 2013 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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  1. pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
    March 5, 2013 @ 8:36 am

    Hmmmm……maybe our enemies have decided that if drone strikes are good enough for the USA, they are good enough for everyone else. Maybe Obama should quit taking so many vacations and campaign stops. He might become a target for a terrorist desiring “payback” for his strikes on Al Quaeda.

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    • juicyfruit56Comment by juicyfruit56
      March 5, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

      If that’s the case. Let’s make sure he goes on lot’s of vacations.

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    • RattlerjakeComment by rattlerjake
      March 5, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

      We could only hope that they would pay him back.

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  2. sockettuemComment by sockettuem
    March 5, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    The Joint Terror Task Force is now probing the sighting of the mysterious flying object. That is reassuring since it is probably an element of our own government who had it up there. Anyone want to bet on the outcome? Conclusion: No drone, it was swamp gas. Move along people, nothing to see here…

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    • bf39Comment by bf39
      March 5, 2013 @ 9:20 am

      Yes sockettuem. This will be just like Benghazi and Fast and Furious. It will be swept under the rug. I would still like to know about these two incidents.
      Also, I would like for obama to pay back the social security the federal government BORROWED back in the 60′s. Part of that money was mine!
      Also, to decrease the budget, obama and his family need to quit taking vacations, UNLESS THEY ARE GOING TO PAY FOR THEM. They are no better than ME! In these times, I can’t afford a vacation.

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    • conserveusa38Comment by conserveusa38
      March 5, 2013 @ 5:22 pm

      I agree with both of you. It is so obvious that the government put this there so this will just be another cover up. Here in northern MA there has been a lot of helicopter activity. I live on the NH border…my brother who lives in NH recently saw government vehicles without the proper plates all surrounding another larger vehicle that looked like it could have been carrying a drone. He took pictures with his phone because he knew what he saw was not normal. He too said there had been tons of helicopter activity. The only reason we could think of for this was that the government wanted us to get used to the noise. I never was such a skeptic or into any conspiracies before this particular administration. They have done things that go against every moral vibe in my body. They have broken laws and the constitution. If something was done about it….then maybe I could have some hope and faith. But they get away with everything and have gotten a free pass from the main steam media as well. This democratic government and their leaders are worse than watergate. I was born in early 70′s so out of the presidents I personally have watched lead our country, this has to be the worst leadership. We have succumb to dictatorship.

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  3. Desert LionComment by Desert Lion
    March 5, 2013 @ 10:42 am

    Everyone, including the article author, seems pretty ready to tag this device as a threat. But is it a threat to the country, the aircraft, the people, or the government? It’s not necessarily our enemies, particularly if JTTF and FAA are concerned about it.

    Doesn’t anyone else have a problem with concept of a 1 sq meter helicopter drone being spotted by a commercial airliner hovering 200 ft from his jet? Top speed for hovering, 0 kts. Minimum speed for a jetliner at 1,800 feet, even if on final approach, 150-300 kts, or well over 250 feet per second. So just how long was this little radio controlled quad rotor about 200 feet from the jet? Did anyone bother to check what happened to the little drone when the airliner wingtip vortex reached it? That clear air turbulence can flip a small piloted aircraft, so a 1 sq meter drone has no chance of maintaining a stable flight profile, even with onboard automatic gyro stabilization.

    Even if you ignore the incredible aspects of this report and accept as fact that the event did occur, maybe instead it was just someone who has decided that the Second Amendment applies to more than just firearms, as it clearly does, and figures if the government is going to start flying drones over USA territory, it’s time they do also.

    Might be time to order a few of my own, fitted with a few GoPro Hero3 cameras, just in case…

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  4. Repossess AmericaComment by Repossess America
    March 5, 2013 @ 11:36 am

    Most likely a home built hovercraft or helicopter or whatever you want to call it. So calm down people.

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  5. prairelivingComment by praireliving
    March 5, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

    Maybe I watched too much ’24′ back a few years ago but something about this whole thing seems very suspicious.

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  6. dondehoffComment by dondehoff
    March 5, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

    I am a retired USAF pilot,and I have been warning everyone that it will just be a matter of time before a stray drone gets into a control zone, where airliners are taking off or landing (which was the case here). We do not have the capability of controlling so many airplanes, especially when the drones are very small and unmanned and the lower airspace is full of VFR very inexperienced pilots flying “bugsmashers” and those the many cropdusters that fly a few feet off of the ground and then “zoom” up to fly their downwind legs—disaster, just waiting to happen—and not a matter of “if”, rather a case of “when”. Also, if that small drone was close enough to “see”, it was probably sheer luck it did not collide with the airliner—and although small, remember ducks and geese have caused many accidents, some involving hundreds of passengers.

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  7. my04301933Comment by my04301933
    March 5, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

    This looks spooky, but maybe a hobbyst…which I doubt…
    I think it is more of a “warning”, possibly a “threat…and I suspect it was armed…

    Remember when that passenger liner leaving JFK)?) a few Clinton years back was blown out of the sky by a missile?

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    • Desert LionComment by Desert Lion
      March 5, 2013 @ 10:58 am

      No, only some wild-eyed conspiracy theorists remember that. Most sane individuals remember a tragic accident where the plane blew itself out of the sky.

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    • prairelivingComment by praireliving
      March 5, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

      Desert Lion:
      My sister has held many positions within the field of aviation and she and her cohorts don’t for one minute believe that it was a plane that ‘just blew itself out of the sky’. I sure hope you are being sarcastic with your comment.

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    • yj77Comment by yj77
      March 5, 2013 @ 4:48 pm

      Having done calculations regarding the explosive nature of the vapors created by volatile fluids such as jet fuel inside partially full storage tanks, I doubt an explosion could have been created by any spark occurring in the fuel-air mixture in space above the liquid fuel. The fuel vapor concentration prevents enough Oxygen in the mix to create an explosive atmosphere. Refer to the concentrations of vapor in air needed to have the mixture between the Lower and Upper Explosive Limits for jet fuel. The aircraft is significantly more likely to have been downed by other means.

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  8. SnowyComment by Lena
    March 5, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

    Sheriff’s offices, police departments, and all sorts of federal agencies want to fly these things.

    Is the FAA going to be responsible for keeping them from running into each other and interfering with real aircraft?

    I suppose Obama can hire thousands more federal employees to do that and raise our taxes to pay for them.

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  9. 77fordComment by 77ford
    March 5, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

    Yea the one the navy ran from and then despite the photos and movies claimed a fuel pump shorted out and caused a full tank of fuel to blow up give us a break be honest and that’s impossible especially for the democrats party liners

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