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Close call at JFK Airport when drone whizzes past Delta flight as it went in for landing

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NEW YORK — A Delta Air Lines pilot reported a close call after flying past a drone while landing at JFK Airport Friday.

Delta Flight 407 from Orlando was flying at approximately 1,400 feet about 5 p.m. when the pilot spotted the “Unmanned Aircraft System,” according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot wasn’t forced to take evasive action and the plane didn’t make any contact.

There were 149 passengers on board and five crew members.

An investigation into the drone sighting is ongoing.

“The crew of Delta Air Lines 407 reported seeing an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) while on approach to John F Kennedy International Airport at about 5 pm today. The crew did not take evasive action. The flight landed safely. The FAA will investigate,” Delta said in a statement.

Phil Derner of NYCaviation.com says Friday evening’s incident near JFK Airport was a “close call”, and at a distance of 100 feet, the drone could have been sucked into the plane’s engine. “these drones are made with aircraft aluminum, similar parts to the aircraft that it’s about to strike, going into an engine can destroy an engine, going into a cockpit window can injure a pilot or even kill a pilot,” he said.

Derner says near-misses between drones and plans occur more often than most people realize, “the near misses are happening almost weekly in New York City alone.”

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