FBI Seeking Leads For JFK Airport Mystery Drone

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking the public for tips on a mystery hobbyist UAV that almost strayed into the flight path of an intercontinental jet.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a request earlier today for public assistance in spotting a rogue drone in New York. An Alitalia pilot told Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials that he spotted a small unmanned drone in his airplane's flight path over Brooklyn on Monday afternoon (it wasn't us, we swear). “The FBI is asking anyone with information about the unmanned aircraft or the operator to contact us,” said agent John Giacalone in a press release. “Our paramount concern is the safety of aircraft passengers and crew.”

According to the Alitalia pilot, the drone was spotted approximately four miles southeast of Kennedy airport—meaning it was most likely flown over the Sandy-impacted Long Island suburb of Atlantic Beach. The UAV appeared to be small and to be a hobbyist model rather than the larger drones used by the military and government agencies.

The FAA is already investigating the incident. Hobbyist UAVs are increasingly cheap to purchase and are frequently used illegally for aerial filmmaking purposes such as location surveying and real estate photography. Kennedy Airport has had its own security headaches recently; in November, crooks stole $1.5 million worth of iPad Minis from the airport and a jet skier accidentally penetrated Kennedy's $100 million security parameter this past August.

[Image: Flickr user Saaby]

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