[UPDATED] Flight Returns Safely to Westchester Airport After Bird Strike

Jet Blue Flight 571 bound for Palm Beach, FL returned to the airport "without incident" after hitting two birds shortly after taking off at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

"Well, two geese hit the aircraft and the pilot decided to come back to the field to check for damage. The aircraft came back to the field without incident," said Westchester County Airport operations supervisor Kiran Outar. 

For Outar, it was as simple as that. Bird strikes, while potentially serious, are not unusual occurences. Outar said it was possible the passengers weren't even aware of the reason for the flight's return until they disembarked from the airplane.

In recent days, bird strikes have forced several airplane landings. Last Thursday, Air Force Two had to make an emergency landing with Vice President Joe Biden on board at Santa Barbara Airport. On the same day, a Delta flight made an emergency landing at JFK airport for the same reason: birds.

Arguably, the most famous incident involving an aircraft bird strike was the 2009 "Miracle on the Hudson" incident when US Airways Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger safely landed an aircraft on the Hudson River after geese took out both engines. 

WNBC New York reported the strike at Westchester Airport on Tuesday evening was actually two geese that hit the aircraft's windshield less than 15 minutes after take-off from the county airport Tuesday evening. The network reported the plane was at an altitude of approximately 300 feet at the time.

The Embraer 190– a regional jet with 100 seats-  returned safely to the runway after requesting permission for an emergency landing. WNBC reported the flight had 54 passengers. 

The Jet Blue flight 571 bound for Palm Beach, FL., took off at about 6:45 p.m. An airport spokesperson said the pilot turned the plane around after striking two geese and returned to the runway safely.

Passengers were switched to another Jet Blue plane and departed from the airport at around 9 p.m., the spokesperson said.

Marcos Mess April 25, 2012 at 12:37 AM
I have an idea.. why not a cone swirl shaped type guard on the front of each engine..that can let the bird scoop off to the side while still allowing air to flow
Smitty Chesterfield April 25, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I have an idea. Bird laser beams on the wings.
Freddie April 25, 2012 at 01:57 AM
This happen to m many years ago on a Delta flight out of JFK. We did not know there was a problem until we were ready to land in Atlanta. The pilot put the landing gear down and a light said it was not down. We had to fly by the tower for them to see if they could tell. They opened a door in the floor and looked out to see if they could see the landing gear. We had to prepare for a crash landing. We landed. The gear was down. A bird had taken out a bunch of wires so the lights were not functioning properly.
SHW April 25, 2012 at 02:10 AM
time to employ some hunters to take out some birds!!
Katie Ryan O'Connor April 25, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Wow! That's quite a story!
Tony April 25, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Covering the engine in any way, even though air could flow around a cone, wouldn't work- a jet engine relies on as much air as possible entering the turbine fan through the front. That's what becomes combustible and causes thrust for the plane.
thomas April 25, 2012 at 01:04 PM
With the incrse in flights, (about 3 to4%) a year, bird strikes are an inevtiable part of flying. as the sky becomes more congetsed with aircraft and birds, we will be seeing more of them in the comming years.
Freddie April 25, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Thanks Katie. It was an experience. Never so scared in my life. Flight met by fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. They have always had problems at JFK. Being near the water our bird was a seagull.We laugh about it now. We say can you imagine our last meal was a unidentifiable muffin and coffee with powdered milk. LOL
Fly on the Wall April 25, 2012 at 11:21 PM
They should drain the reservoir near the airport and put in a Starbucks, Target, Wal-Mart superstore, and a Yugo dealership!


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