Drone came within 200 feet of airliner over New York
March 5, 2013 -- Updated 2008 GMT (0408 HKT)
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1 Predator UAV assigned to the California Air National Guard's 163rd Reconnaissance Wing flies near the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California, on January 7, 2012.
- Drone came dangerously close to Alitalia jet landing in New York
- FBI appeals for public's help in finding the drone's owner
- Drone was about three-feet wide with four propellers, FBI says
- Radio communications indicate pilot spotted drone on Monday afternoon
(CNN) -- An unmanned drone came within 200 feet of a commercial jet over New York, triggering an FBI appeal to the public for any information about the unusual and potentially dangerous incident.
The crew of Alitalia Flight 608 approaching John F. Kennedy airport on Monday reported the sighting.
"We saw a drone, a drone aircraft," the pilot can be heard telling air traffic controllers on radio calls captured by the website LiveATC.net.
CNN Explains: U.S. drones
The FAA said it was investigating the incident.
The Alitalia aircraft did not take any evasive action and landed safely.
The FBI expanded on the FAA report, saying in a statement that the Alitalia flight from Rome was roughly three miles from runway 31R when the incident occurred at an altitude of approximately 1,750 feet.
The unmanned aircraft, described by the FBI as black and no more than three feet wide with four propellers, came within 200 feet of the Boeing jetliner.
The FBI said it was looking to identify and locate the aircraft and its operator. A source with knowledge of the incident says investigators interviewed the pilot and others on the Alitalia plane.
Dronestagram uses social media to highlight drone strikes
"The FBI is asking anyone with information about the unmanned aircraft or the operator to contact us," said Special Agent in Charge John Giacalone. "Our paramount concern is the safety of aircraft passengers and crew."
Air traffic controllers warned other planes approaching the JFK runway of the drone report, but at least two other pilots radioed they did not see it.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department was not aware of the incident and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, referred CNN to the FAA.
Unmanned aerial systems, sometimes called drones, and other remote-controlled planes could pose a risk to larger passenger aircraft if they collided or were sucked into an engine.
For recreational hobbyists, flying remote-controlled planes is only allowed by the FAA up to 400 feet, and within sight of the operator. If they are going to fly within three miles of an airport, they have to let air traffic controllers know.
Flying unmanned aerial vehicles is illegal for most business purposes; however, governments and public entities such as police departments can apply for permission to operate them.
The FAA has been working to setup new rules and to safely integrate the use of unmanned aircraft into the national air space, and last year opened an "unmanned aircraft systems integration" office.
CNN's Carol Cratty and Rob Frehse contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
November 18, 2013 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Apart from what they do for the military; drones have already proven themselves capable sheep herders, delivery boys, tour guides, filmmakers, archaeologists, and -- possibly -- spies.
December 6, 2013 -- Updated 1432 GMT (2232 HKT)
The evolution of drones continues.
November 20, 2013 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
It's your first day at university and you've got 15 minutes to get to room 9-209. Easy, right?
July 19, 2013 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Deer Trail, a small Colorado town, is considering a measure that would allow its residents to hunt for federal drones and shoot them down.
November 12, 2013 -- Updated 2024 GMT (0424 HKT)
The Federal Aviation Administration's "Road Map" to integrate drones into civilian airspace by 2015 has provoked strong reactions from privacy advocates.
October 25, 2013 -- Updated 0719 GMT (1519 HKT)
Years of aiming missiles at people on the other side of the world left Brandon Bryant a broken man.
November 6, 2013 -- Updated 1939 GMT (0339 HKT)
"Live every week like it's Shark Week." Those immortal words come not from the Discovery Channel's marketing department but from Tracy Morgan on "30 Rock."
August 6, 2013 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
Click through our gallery to learn more about the varied appearances of drones.
May 23, 2013 -- Updated 0116 GMT (0916 HKT)
Catch up on everything you need to know about drones.
March 8, 2013 -- Updated 1551 GMT (2351 HKT)
Drone warfare has always been a controversial method of war. But it became virtually sensational during the heated discussion over John Brennan's nomination to be CIA chief.
July 12, 2012 -- Updated 1220 GMT (2020 HKT)
Drones are currently a growth industry in the aviation sector, with scores of new companies competing for a slice of the market.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
Here are some key facts about the U.S. drone program, including how and when they are used, and where.
February 15, 2013 -- Updated 1612 GMT (0012 HKT)
The use of drones to carry out military strikes is controversial, to say the least.
February 23, 2013 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
A list of 22 techniques for evading drone strikes shows that militants are trying to share their knowledge and reduce the number of casualties that American attacks are costing them.
Today's five most popular stories