The Hunger Games” scribe Billy Ray has been tapped to helm the sci-fi romance pic “Departure” for Good Universe.

Ray will also write the script with Jim Whitaker producing.  Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane will executive produce.

Inspired by Martin Caidin’s book “Ghosts of the Air,” story follows a brilliant Miami-based FAA investigator who is obsessed with learning how a 727 suddenly vanished into thin air and then reappeared in the same spot 10 minutes later.  As mysterious occurrences in the skies over Miami continue with increasing frequency, the investigation becomes personal when the employee’s beloved wife is on one of the planes affected.

Spencer Wong will oversee the project on behalf of Good Universe.  Elizabeth Ingold will oversee for Whitaker Entertainment.

This isn’t the first time Ray has found himself involved with a film where planes play a big part in the pic. He also  penned the script to the Jodie Foster thriller “Flightplan,” which was set entirely on a 747.

Ray is repped by CAA and Management 360 and his next pic, Sony’s “Captain Phillips,” will bow on Oct. 11.