HARRISON, N.Y. – The Westchester County Airport has reported nine incidents of planes hitting birds since October 2011, a common occurrence according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
On Tuesday at approximately 6:45 p.m., a JetBlue flight heading to Florida struck two geese midair causing the plane to return to the runway at the county airport. Airport Manager Peter Scherrer said that like all other incidents of this kind, the airport will report it to the FAA to track flight patterns of geese so this incident does not happen again.
The FAA’s wildlife database reported that most recently a small plane, which departed from the Westchester County Airport, hit a ring-billed gull on Feb. 3, 2012. As with the incident last night, four other commercial flights from the airport have struck birds while in flight since October 2011. The FAA’s database reported that on Oct. 18, 2011, both Piedmont Airlines, based out of Salisbury, Md. and SkyWest Airlines, based out of St. George, Utah both struck birds. Piedmont Airlines reported an incident with a Canada goose on Oct. 28, 2011, while SkyWest reported hitting an unknown bird on Nov. 4, 2011.
By comparison, La Guardia Airport has reported 10 incidents of planes hitting birds since March 1 while John F. Kennedy Airport reported three incidents in the same time period with most of the planes incurring little to no damage.
“We are going to check out the plane and see when it’s ready to go,” Scherrer said about last night’s JetBlue flight. “The plane could be ready by the morning.”
Still, the recent strike of geese was out-of-season for most of these incidents. The FAA’s wildlife database said that a plane hitting birds midair mostly happens between July and August. Furthermore, the FAA said that most strikes occur during daylight hours, not during the twilight of the day, which was when Tuesday night’s incident happened.
Even though geese are a common sight in Westchester County including locations near the airport, the FAA said that Gulls, which make up 19 percent of the identified birds in strikes, are most commonly struck. Second are doves and pigeons, which account for 15 percent of reported incidents.