British Airways crew spots drone while approaching JFK Airport

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Josh Einiger has the story.

Another drone has been sighted by the crew of an airplane heading for landing at a New York City airport.

The giant jumbo jet, a Boeing 777, came way too close to someone's flying toy.

"Speedbird 177? Go ahead," Air Traffic Control said.

If you listen through the fast talking jargon of Air Traffic Control, you'll hear the crew of British Airways 177 from London operating with the handle "Speedbird" telling controllers about their strange sighting near a waypoint known as Zalpo, over Floral Park Long Island.

"As we passed ZALPO about 300 feet above us, I'm pretty sure it was a drone," the pilot said.

"Okay, uh, thank you," Air Traffic Control said.

"Or a very strange looking balloon," the pilot said.

The FAA says it was no balloon.

Hovering between 1,800 and 2,200 feet northeast of Kennedy Airport, the unmanned drone was apparently flying above approaching jetliners traffic.

"Speedbird 177-Heavy, do you have any other description other than, uh, what it can possibly be, like a color, direction of flight, or anything else?" Air Traffic Control said.

"It was going roughly towards the west and it was about, I would say, difficult to tell the size of the thing but about 300 feet above us, and, uh it was black, and sort of, well looked like one of those things with the four propellers on each corner," the pilot said.

In the past year, the FAA says pilots have reported more than three dozen drone sightings, just in the airspace near JFK.

Just last week, an American Eagle crew reported seeing an unmanned aircraft while on approach to LaGuardia Airport.

Thursday night, controllers dispatched an NYPD helicopter to investigate as they urged other pilots to keep an eye out.

"Alitalia 604-heavy, possible report of a drone at Zalpo, at 300 above your altitude at Zalpo, so about 1,900 feet. Use caution," Air Traffic Control said.

The FAA and the Nassau County Police are investigating the incident.

Related Topics:
dronesjfk international airportNew York City
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