Federal officials said on Tuesday that they are investigating a report from a pilot of an Alitalia passenger jet who said he saw an unmanned aircraft or drone in the skies over Brooklyn.
The Alitalia pilot told officials that he saw the aircraft as he approached the runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday afternoon. The pilot said the aircraft was four to five miles southeast of the airport and was flying at an altitude of about 1,500 feet.
“We saw a drone, a drone aircraft,” the pilot can be heard on radio calls captured by LiveATC.net, a website that posts air traffic communications.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed the investigation Tuesday in a statement emailed to reporters.
“The FAA is investigating a report from the pilot of an international airline that he saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right at John F. Kennedy International Airport at about 2 p.m.,” the agency said.
“The pilot did not take evasive action. The flight landed safely,” according to the FAA.
Drones have been used by the U.S. military as an attack and surveillance weapon abroad, but flying an unmanned aerial vehicle for business purposes is generally illegal , though local government entities can apply for permission to send them aloft.
Hobbyists are allowed to fly unmanned craft with a top altitude of no more than 400 feet.