Conspiracy theorists, aviation experts — and those who are easily classified in both categories — we need your help. Please help us make sense of the alleged drone sighting that took place on Monday near JFK International Airport in New York.
If you’re unfamiliar with the sighting, here’s what you need to know:
Working toward a final approach at JFK, an Alitalia pilot reported seeing a drone aircraft descending at approximately 1,700 feet. According to the pilot, the drone was a mere 200 feet away. Here is the exchange between the pilot and air traffic control, as well as the subsequent communication with other aircraft on the lookout for the drone:
Is it ironic that this news came to light on the same day the Obama administration suggested that drones could be used in domestic warfare during an “extraordinary circumstance” like 9/11? Yes. Let’s go with that… irony. I’ll sleep better tonight.
The FAA and FBI are hopeful to discover what the pilot of the Alitalia aircraft saw as he lined up over the invisible line that divides Brooklyn and Queens. Many have suggested it could be a quad-rotor, remote control aircraft. Sure, there are people who openly defy the FAA “suggested guideline” of keeping these aircraft below 400 feet in elevation and within eyesight. There is a local area that is frequented by R/C pilots, but such a scenario simply doesn’t seem to vibe with this “drone” sighting.
If it were a small, civilian R/C quadcopter, it seems the pilot would have made such a remark.
We need some expert opinions here. Or some stellar crackpot conspiracies. Those are awesome, too.