NEWARK — A drone was spotted flying near an incoming flight into Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday.

The crew of United Airlines No. 135 spotted the drone two miles southwest of the airport just before noon as the Boeing 767 was on approach from Zurich, according to the FAA. The pilot made a report of an Unmanned Aircraft Sighting to the ground control and the FAA will investigate.

Unmanned Aircraft Sightings are a common problem with flights, and the FAA said it gets around 100 reports every month from across the country. Sixty-four incidents were reported by flights in and out airports in New Jersey last year, the most recent time period report posted on the FAA's website.

Among the reported incidents:

  • A pilot of a small plane had to descend 200 feet on approach to Lakewood on Dec. 8 when he saw a small drone rise out of a body of water in Spring Lake flying towards his plane that could only been seen with special night goggles which the pilots were wearing.
  • On Oct. 9, 2016 a drone was reported 300 feet from a jet heading for Newark and was also seen from the ground by a Port Authority police officer.
  • The pilot of a small plane landing at the airport in Woodstown was rattled when he saw what was described as a "55 gallon drum" off his left wing. "It was very unnerving as he didn't know what direction the Unmanned Aircraft Sighting was traveling," an incident summary by the FAA wrote.
  • A pilot reported being ""buzzed" by a helicopter drone at 11,000 feet near Newark

In some cases, the federal Department of Homeland Security was notified.

Flying a drone near an airplanes, helicopters and airports is illegal and violators are subject to fines, criminal charges and possible jail.

"The FAA has levied civil penalties for a number of unauthorized flights in various parts of the country, and has many open enforcement cases," according to its website.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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