The Alitalia pilot told air traffic controllers that he saw the aircraft as he approached the runway at Kennedy at 1:15 p.m. Monday. The pilot said the aircraft was 4 to 5 miles southeast of the airport and was flying at an altitude of about 1,500 feet.
An FBI spokesman says the pilot reported that the aircraft was about 3 feet wide.
The pilot can be heard on radio calls captured by LiveATC.net, a website that posts air traffic communications. The pilot said, "We saw a drone, a drone aircraft."
The FAA says the pilot did not take evasive action and the plane landed safely.