Delta Flight Forced To Make Emergency Landing After Bird Strike At JFK

Plane engines make a lot of noise, but then there’s the awful noise it reportedly makes when a bunch of birds hit. Passengers on a Delta flight yesterday had a bit of a scare, after their plane was likely hit by a bird strike on the way to L.A. The crew made a successful emergency landing at JFK.

“On takeoff, the airplane had a likely bird strike,” said a Delta statement, according to ABC News. “As a precaution, the captain elected to return to JFK. The flight landed without incident, and we’re working on reaccomodating the passengers.”

A CNN correspondent on the flight tweeted that the cabin filled with smoke after the bird strike, and commended the captain and crew for “a quick turnaround & landing.”

Another passenger posted a YouTube video, and said, “That was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life,” he said. “[The] plane shook, I thought we were coming down.”

It came as a scary shock for passengers, perhaps, but the audio recording of the incident shows that the pilot was totally calm while talking with air traffic controllers.

“All is well,” the pilot told the controllers coordinating the landing and response. “They can take their time and everybody can be calm out there.”

Animal strikes are up from 1,793 reported in 1990 to 9,622 in 2010, and birds were involved 92.7% of the time. Most of the time, those strikes happen when the plane is at less than 500 feet of elevation.

So don’t worry everyone, go about your flying as usual.

Delta Flight Makes Emergency Landing After Bird Strike [ABC News]


Edit Your Comment

  1. May contain snark says:

    It could be worse. You could have been one of the birds.

  2. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Damn union birds. Bring in the scab birds!

  3. Marlin says:

    “birds were involved 92.7% of the time”

    Got to be that guy but what other animals are they hitting 7.3% of the time?

    Caption: Folks we just hit a lama, got to turn back.

  4. SharkD says:

    “You know what I do every day? Not hit birds. Where’s my ticket to the Grammy’s?”

    /I kid, I kid

  5. CubeRat says:

    It appears that the bird population is suffering from depression, to note the increase in bird strikes over the past 20 years. Either that, or they’ve taken up a political cause and are now actively engaged in suicide strikes against airlines. Now creatures that don’t even have to deal with airline customer service, fees, and TSA hate the airlines.

  6. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    you missed the big river. good job.

  7. Nighthawke says:

    Heh, it could have been a buzzard similar to the one 747 sucked in at South Africa. It destroyed the engine completely, cowling and all.

    • Remarkable Melba Kramer says:

      I took a turbine engine class in college and we used to watch a video of them testing jet engines for bird strikes by firing chickens into them with a pneumatic cannon.

      In slow motion, you could see the engine and cowling flex and bulge as all of those little turbine blades worked their way out the back.


      • Nighthawke says:

        If the turbine blades in the clip were paddle-shaped, then it was probably one of the newest GE or Rolls-Royce models. The engines on the older 747’s are not exactly at that level of safety and this one simply disintegrated.

  8. sirwired says:

    “Another passenger posted a YouTube video, and said, “That was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life,” he said. “[The] plane shook, I thought we were coming down.”

    Passengers are about the worst source of information about how serious an air incident is. Most passengers overestimate how serious a problem is, usually by a very large margin. Turbulence resulting in an altitude change of a hundred or two feet becomes “the bottom dropping out.” A 15-degree bank becomes a “hairpin turn”, etc.

    Whenever the landing gear fails to lock, you have passengers writing notes to their loved ones, while the pilot upfront is mostly worried about the paperwork he’s going to have to fill out.

    • Remarkable Melba Kramer says:

      I think it is funny when people freak out when they hear the landing gear retract or the flaps extending.

    • sherrasama says:

      The fear of plummeting out of the sky from 30,000 miles in a high speed tin can that you’re not in control of can have that sort of effect.

    • pop top says:

      I agree. If you’re that easily scared, you probably shouldn’t be flying at all.

  9. lvdave says:

    Apparently the hit was only on one engine. You lose both engines on a twin-engine aircraft, and it flies like a lead brick. They gotta do more to rid the areas around airports of birds. *Some day* people are gonna be killed with another strike on both engines, and there won’t be a “Capt Sully” working a miracle getting it down in the Hudson..

    • sirwired says:

      You lose two engines on a twin engine aircraft, it does not “fly like a lead brick.” It’s a glider, and if you don’t have much altitude, you are certainly going to have difficulty finding a place to land. But as long as the APU comes online, you’ll have full flight controls.

  10. RiverStyX says:

    Could be bad karma coming back due to the federal government legalizing the killing of bald eagles. Just a thought.

  11. axolotl says:


  12. Free Legal Advice! says:

    Anyone else think of the Eddie Izzard skit, or wasit just me?

  13. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    I thought everybody heard about the bird…

    Ah well a bird bird bird
    Bird bird’s the word,
    Ah well a bird bird bird
    Bird bird’s the word, Ah well a bird bird bird
    Bird bird’s the word, Ah well a bird bird bird
    Bird bird’s the word

  14. centurion says:

    ” I thought we were coming down” uh, you where, one way or another. Aviation has a 100% record, every plane that has gone up, has come down.

  15. bwcbwc says:

    Could have been more serious. Wasn’t a bird strike behind the US Airways forced landing in the Hudson River a few years back?

  16. AllanG54 says:

    I think this was quite a good job as the plane was full of fuel and weighed more than it usually does upon landing. Lots of times they have to fly around to burn off fuel or just dump it.

  17. tailspin says:

    I saw the video on the news tonight, you can see the birds heading for the engine. What I don’t get is, why wasn’t that guy’s phone powered off and stored away like they tell you before takeoff? Sorry, but that’s a major pet peeve of mine… they don’t tell you to power down just to be meanies, your little Words with Friends game can wait 10 minutes.

  18. maines19 says:

    I’ve been on a flight that struck birds on takeoff and took out an engine. Sounded like gunshots and smelled like barbecuing chicken. Pilot calmly announced that we would be returning to the airport, came round and landed, where we were met by a line of firetrucks and rescue equipment. The engine wasn’t on fire, though, so we were permitted to taxi to the gate. Once parked, the pilot sounded like he lost it, telling us breathlessly that in all his years of flying, he’d never experienced anything like that, and the flight was hereby canceled. Good job of keeping cool when it mattered, in a situation he obviously found terrifying after the fact.