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Author Topic: Drone sighting at JFK  (Read 20288 times)
notaperfectpilot
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« on: March 05, 2013, 12:31:44 PM »

And Alitalia A330 (I believe) reported seeing a drone on final for JFK's 31R. A media report here:

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Unmanned-Aircraft-John-F-Kennedy-Airport-New-York-FAA-Investigating-195125251.html

found in the May 4th JFK tower 1800Z archive. Edited for silence and unrelated traffic
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jjohns20
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2013, 12:39:42 PM »

Thank you SO much Smiley
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InterpreDemon
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2013, 08:03:19 PM »

... And here's another condensed recording from the super-secret, MUFON / NORAD monitoring facility that feeds all such data directly to Groom Lake for analysis. Tower 1 on the left channel and Tower 2 on the right.
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KJFK ARINC
KHPN ATIS
(KJFK) NY DEP Liberty East
HF CAR-A  3455/5550/6577/8846/11396
HF ARINC LDOC  6640/8933
HF NY VOLMET  6604

Complaints should be addressed to: City Hall
InterpreDemon
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2013, 08:34:44 PM »

And here's a lucky photo snapped by a bird watcher on Long Beach...
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KJFK ARINC
KHPN ATIS
(KJFK) NY DEP Liberty East
HF CAR-A  3455/5550/6577/8846/11396
HF ARINC LDOC  6640/8933
HF NY VOLMET  6604

Complaints should be addressed to: City Hall
RonR
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2013, 10:08:12 AM »

If there was something at 1500 feet, wouldn't it have shown up on radar as some kind of target?  Do ATC radars have the capability of "seeing" a target like that?
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ZBW/ZNY/ZDC (JFK Area) #1
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ZBW Boston Center (CLIPR32/HTO31)
ZBW Boston Center (DXR19/SOUTHIE49)
InterpreDemon
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2013, 11:14:19 AM »

My bet is that it was a large RC model... he said it had four engines.
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KJFK ARINC
KHPN ATIS
(KJFK) NY DEP Liberty East
HF CAR-A  3455/5550/6577/8846/11396
HF ARINC LDOC  6640/8933
HF NY VOLMET  6604

Complaints should be addressed to: City Hall
RonR
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2013, 11:25:33 AM »

I tend to agree.  I can't help but think that if it really was a drone, that it would have been spotted by others as well.  Something like that flying that low around Queens would not have gone unnoticed.
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notaperfectpilot
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2013, 11:33:47 AM »

If there was something at 1500 feet, wouldn't it have shown up on radar as some kind of target?  Do ATC radars have the capability of "seeing" a target like that?

I would have thought that it would have shown up on radar. I mean, if birds show up on the radar, then I would think that it would have also...maybe the controllers couldn't tell because it "looked" like a bird even if it was seen on radar?
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RonR
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2013, 12:40:44 PM »

I personally don't think the controllers saw anything on radar.  Had they seen something (including birds), I'm almost certain they would have pointed it out to any of the aircraft on final.
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ZBW Boston Center (CLIPR32/HTO31)
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Hollis
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2013, 03:02:08 PM »

Ten to one it was a probable R/C model of some sort.
A 'drone' would be much larger and possible shown up on radar.
 
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InterpreDemon
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2013, 03:45:49 PM »

In that type of airspace I really don't think the controllers would notice any such small primary target, only targets with a transponder or the size of a GA aircraft or larger. With all the traffic I would not be surprised if there are a fair amount of phantom returns they have to filter out with all the reflections and they probably don't even operate in primary mode most or all of the time.
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KJFK ARINC
KHPN ATIS
(KJFK) NY DEP Liberty East
HF CAR-A  3455/5550/6577/8846/11396
HF ARINC LDOC  6640/8933
HF NY VOLMET  6604

Complaints should be addressed to: City Hall
RonR
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2013, 03:49:40 PM »

If a controller is made aware of a sighting like this, do they have the capabilities to put the radar in a mode that might let them see a target like this?  Just wondering...
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ManagerJosh
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2013, 04:14:20 PM »

Don't forget that some drones are equipped with some basic stealth features that scatter radar.
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Jetblast1
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 06:45:48 PM »

 grin Afterall anything can happen in New York, like:

« Last Edit: March 07, 2013, 08:27:34 AM by 757-rules » Logged
777-200LR
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 10:13:00 PM »

This obviously wasn't a drone for several reasons.  One, no drone in production has 4 engines.   A 4-engine drone would defeat its mission purpose, which is long loiter time and low fuel consumption.  Drones have 1, or in the case of the new Euro drone by EADS, 2 engines.

Second, drones operating in U.S. airspace are required to use MODE C transponders.   There are no exceptions to that rule, let alone when flying in Class B airspace.  Doesn't matter if it has stealth features or not.  No way the FAA would allow drones to fly stealth in controlled airspace let alone Class B around JFK.   Any such drone operator would lose their license and military would even get in serious trouble.

This was either an RC plane or something like a Cirrus with a V-tail that was operating below Class Bravo and landing at one of the satellite airports (perhaps below JFK's tower coverage).   But it was not a drone.  No way.  Since the pilot who observed it was from Italy, he is likely unaware of the production V-tail civilian planes we have over here and his only exposure to V-tails is through news media photos and video of drones he watches on layover in his hotel.

Finally, any person who flies a drone is either a pilot or, if not, heavily supervised by someone who is.   The idea that a drone organization — private or government — that spends tens of millions of dollars flying drones in the NY Metro area would fly without a transponder through Class B restricted airspace around JFK is unthinkable.    There's no way this level of breakdown could occur without severe consequences.

And the 4 engine reference clearly shows he's not correct.   He probably saw a radio controlled B-29 that those RC club guys fly near JFK.  The rounded nose would make it appear to be a drone.   There are hundreds of people and several big flying clubs who fly RC planes on Long Island.  
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 01:50:55 PM by 777-200LR » Logged
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