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FAA: Delta pilot spots possible drone near Kennedy Airport

Kennedy Airport in Queens is seen in this

Kennedy Airport in Queens is seen in this 2014 file photo. Credit: Google Earth

A Delta pilot reported flying past a drone while coming in for a landing Friday afternoon at Kennedy Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The jetliner was at about 1,400 feet when the pilot spotted the unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, according to the FAA.

The agency is investigating the incident.

"About a mile back there was a drone flying just under the southwest side of us," the pilot told the control tower, according to an audio recording from

"What altitude would you say that was?" the tower asked.

"I would say about 100 feet below us, just off the right wing," the pilot answered.

The tower later warned other approaching flights to be on the lookout for a drone over Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, a couple of miles southwest of the airport.

The FAA said Delta Air Lines Flight 407 -- an MD88 with 149 passengers and five crew members aboard -- was on approach to Kennedy at 4:55 p.m. at the time of the sighting. The plane had left Orlando two hours earlier.

The pilot did not have to take evasive action, the FAA said.

No injuries were reported, and the plane landed safely, Delta said in a statement.

In May, a passenger jet bound for LaGuardia Airport narrowly missed hitting a drone that was in the air near Prospect Park in Brooklyn, the FAA said. The crew of Shuttle America 2708 reported climbing 200 feet to avoid colliding with the drone as the plane made its final approach to the airport. The flight landed safely.

The drone was flying at about 2,700 feet, the Shuttle America crew told federal authorities at the time.

Drones can be extremely difficult for pilots to avoid and can cause serious damage to a plane, particularly if they are sucked into jet engines, aviation experts have warned. The FAA bans small drones from flying higher than 500 feet or close to airports and heavily populated areas.


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