The crew of a British Airways flight reported seeing an unmanned aircraft Thursday afternoon while preparing to land at Kennedy Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
FAA officials said the crew from British Airways Flight 177, a Boeing 777 aircraft, reported seeing the drone about 5 miles northeast of the airport, flying between 1,800 and 2,200 feet at about 5 p.m. The flight was on approach to Runway 22L at the time, the FAA said.
The FAA notified the NYPD, and the sighting is being investigated, a spokesman said.
The FAA said reports of unmanned aircraft have "increased dramatically" during the past year, from 238 sightings in 2014 to more than 650 by Aug. 9 of this year, including some incidents in which pilots have had to take action to avoid hitting them.
The agency, which regulates the use of drones, said they must stay 5 miles away from airports and keep below 400 feet altitude. Drone operators are supposed to avoid stadiums and people, and operate only during daylight hours.
A new proposed rule by the FAA would limit unmanned aircraft to less than 55 pounds and would mandate that a visual line of sight be maintained between the operator and the aircraft at all times. If the rule is passed, drones would be able to fly up to 500 feet and 100 mph, but not near airports or directly above people.
Operators would also have to pass an "initial aeronautical knowledge test" at an FAA-approved testing center, be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration, obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small-UAS rating that never expires, pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months, and be at least 17 years old.