"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.