Moments before a St. Thomas-bound American Airlines jet struck a flock of birds and was forced to land Tuesday, several other pilots also reported coming close to the winged menaces.
It was a scary reminder of the perils pilots face -- especially during liftoff and landing.
"We might have to go back. We had a bird strike on takeoff," the pilot of AA Flight 1320 reported back to the control tower at JFK airport around 8:30 a.m.
"Let me know what I can do to help you guys out," the tower responded, according to a recording on LiveATC.net.
Soon after, the pilot says “Departure American 1320 has declared an emergency and we'd like to return to JFK.”
The plane, with 134 people onboard, landed safely. The birds hit the plane’s windshield but after an inspection, no physical damage was found. The plane was taken out of service.
Several other pilots reported close calls.
"We just passed another flock at 2,000 feet right off the shoreline," a JetBlue captain radioed back at one point.