Last updated: 06:53 PM ET, Thu October 22 2015

Flight Reports Close Encounter with Drone Near Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Impacting Travel | Patrick Clarke | August 05, 2015

Flight Reports Close Encounter with Drone Near Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport

Amid a series of troubling drone sightings over New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport this past weekend, an American Airlines pilot reported seeing one of the unmanned devices below his plane as it approached Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Sunday, the Arizona Republic reported.

Citing the Phoenix Police Department, the Republic reported the co-pilot noticed a black and yellow colored drone flying roughly 100 feet below the nose of the aircraft, which was at an altitude of about 7,000 feet at the time.

The sighting occurred just before 7 p.m. local time Sunday, Phoenix Police spokesman James Holmes told the Republic. 

Flight 605's crew reported the sighting to the Federal Aviation Administration despite not having to adjust its route to the runway. The flight landed safely without issue.

Police search efforts were hampered by a lack of details regarding the drone, per the Republic. 

FAA rules restrict drone operators from flying the devices within five miles of an airport without contacting a control tower, however enforcing such rules has become a difficult task. 

Nonetheless, officials continue to push for safer skies and harsher penalties for lawbreakers. 

The Republic reported a pair of Phoenix city council members recently began work on an ordinance designed to limit the use of drones and provide law enforcement with the authority to enforce those limitations. If approved, the legislation would categorize a violation as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The White House announced earlier this year that more widespread efforts were underway to curtail the threat drones pose to commercial jetliners and other manned aircraft. However, there's no timetable on when a finalized set of regulations could be presented. 

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