On March 5, the pilot of an Alitalia flight on its final approach to Runway 31 R at New York's JFK International Airport spotted something odd in the air—a small, black flying machine with four propellers flying too close for comfort. The aircraft, likely a "quadrocopter" style drone, passed within 200 feet of the Alitalia airliner at an altitude of about 1,750 feet. Yesterday, the FBI issued a call for help from the public, requesting anyone with information about the drone or its operators to contact the FBI's New York field office. An FBI spokesperson told Ars that there had been no new developments in the case. While investigators believed the drone was a quadrocopter, they had not officially confirmed this detail. But given the size of the drone—less than three feet across—and the pilot's report that it had four propellers, the vertical-takeoff quadrocopter design is the most likely suspect. Commercial drones in the "microdrone" class, such as the Microdrones quadrocopter recently snatched up by an Italian university student, are expensive and not widely available to individuals. They are, however, available used on the aftermarket for about $20,000. More traditional radio-controlled commercial drones used in film and video production, such as those made by Quadrocopter, sell for slightly less. via Ars Technica.
The auction has been closed.