An American Airlines Flight’s Terrifying JFK Takeoff

Filed Under: American

Update: An OMAAT reader wrote in sharing her experience on this flight — you’ll want to read it.


I saw a headline regarding this last week, but never read the full details of this story until now. The more I read the details, the more shocked I am by what happened. This seems terrifying for those onboard. The NTSB is now investigating this, even going so far as to call it an “accident.”

The story of AA300

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, an American Airlines A321 was operating flight AA300 from New York JFK to Los Angeles. This was one of American’s “A321T” aircraft, in a swanky three cabin configuration with just 102 seats. The flight was carrying 109 people, including 101 passengers and eight crew.

There are two ways you can tell this story — there’s the actual order of events, and there’s the order in which the pilots processed the events. I think to be as accurate as possible based on the details we know, it makes sense to cover this in the order in which the pilots uncovered the situation.

How the pilots uncovered the situation

After the plane took off and climbed through about 20,000 feet (over halfway to its cruising altitude), the pilot contacted ATC, asking to return to the airport.

“Hey when we departed we had a strong roll to the left and as we’re climbing, we have decided that we’d like to return back to Kennedy.”

He’s asked if the plane is okay and says “the plane is fine right now. We just want to return to Kennedy and have them check it out.”

When asked about the details, the pilot says “we were banking, uncontrolled bank 45 degrees to the left.”

When asked if he thought it was wake turbulence (where the wake of another aircraft can cause extreme turbulence), the pilot advised he doesn’t think that was the case, and once again confirms they had an uncontrolled roll to the left as they rotated.

At that point the plane is vectored back to JFK where it landed about 30 minutes after takeoff.

Here’s the full ATC audio, should you want to hear it:

The questions…

Okay, so two thoughts:

  • From the ATC audio you’d think this isn’t a big deal at all, based on how the pilots downplay the situation; it sounds like at this point the pilots didn’t realize what happened to the plane
  • At the same time, they suggest the plane uncontrollably banked at a 45 degree angle

I’ll admit I’m not an A321 pilot, but would a 45 degree bank on takeoff not be cause for serious alarm?! I do question how good the pilots are at angles here, but still…

Anyway, what the pilots apparently didn’t realize is that one of the wingtips struck a sign while the plane banked, causing serious damage.

Passengers report that during the climb out the pilot told passengers they were returning to JFK due to a “computer malfunction,” though obviously that wasn’t the case.

Those are all the facts that we have as of now, though it will be interesting to see what the NTSB report on this incident reveals, in particular regarding:

  • How the pilots didn’t realize that they struck something on takeoff, causing serious damage; did the pilots only realize there was damage when they landed, or did someone in the cabin notice it, alert the flight attendants, and they alerted the pilots?
  • How the pilots thought that the plane banked 45 degrees uncontrollably during takeoff, and didn’t think that was serious enough to warrant an immediate return to the airport
  • Most importantly, what happened to cause the plane to bank uncontrollably after takeoff

Thank goodness the plane landed back at JFK safely. This incident seems like it could have been a lot worse…

At first glance this reminds me a bit of the Qatar Airways incident in Miami a few years ago, where the plane overran the runway due to taking off at the wrong intersection, and then they hit runway lights, but didn’t realize they did so.

I’m not saying the American situation is the same, but rather just that the lack of pilots being aware of the situation seems similar.

Comments
  1. I was wondering how none of the passengers noticed, and then I remembered I took off on an AA plane a while back which had all the blinds down. I had no idea this was even a thing!

  2. That’s why almost all non-US carriers have all window shades up during taxi, take off, and landing which I think is actually a good safety precaution.

  3. If you ever listen to ATC with pilots dealing with really serious situations you’d be surprised how low key they communicate. They are trained to be as calm and articulate as possible and not speculate. They did the right thing in insisting on returning to the airport. The plane was operational in the sense they didn’t need emergency equipment. I think this was handled as best it could be. I’d also note, that the co-pilot is in charge of communicating both to the pilot as to any sensors or alerts on the computer front and with ATC, while the pilot is in charge of piloting. So generally there is both a lot going on and a need for the co-pilot to keep communication to the minimum. Just my thoughts. I am a geek and listen a lot of ATC and pilot communications both in and outside emergencies.

  4. Something isnt adding up here: Banking happens during flight. Judging by the pictures the accident must have happened on the ground (which does call into question why no-one noticed). I think you should clarify.

  5. @Ian Duncan: I think the idea is that the wing struck the runway light and got damaged, and as a result of that damage, the plane behaved in an unexpected way once it was in flight (“uncontrolled bank”).

  6. Aviate, navigate, communicate. Clearly the author of the piece has no idea about flying a plane. Pilots are trained for the unexpected, a cross wind on rotation could have caused the banking. 45 degrees seems like a bit much however, but it was an estimate I’m sure. As for the announcement, what sounds less alarming? Hey guys, we have to return because of a computer glitch or HOLY CRAP!!!! WE HIT SOMETHING AND HAVE TO MAKE AN EMERGENCY LANDING. Also, no mayday call, no pan pan pan call…. nothing. This is being played up as something it is clearly not.

  7. @Ben

    With all due respect, how do you know that the pilots did not believe that the roll came from a computer error?
    “Passengers report that during the climb out the pilot told passengers they were returning to JFK due to a “computer malfunction,” though obviously that wasn’t the case.”

    Since there was no immediate issues, climb out he departure corridors, asses the situation, and then request a return. It see a reasonable approach to the situation based on the information available. Why are you second guessing the pilots based on far less information than they had?

  8. @ Richard G

    I too keep wondering why “Blinds up” for take off and landing is not compulsory on US airlines when it is on most Asian and several European carriers. Not that this is a new issue. I was a FA with Air France 50 years ag (B707 and Caravelle) and we were instructed never to open an emergency exit on the side when there may be a fire. Seems obvious that the best way to check is to have the window blinds up. And still, the “blinds up” instruction is fairly new (2-3 years) on airlines which implement it. Same rule applies on all modern planes equipped with “on demand window tint” such as B787 and A350. where central function is automatically on “Bright” before take-off and landing.

  9. I think some of the readers are missing a point. Takeoffs, especially in windy conditions leave the pilots with a desire to get up there quickly. Unfortunately, on a 321 the takeoff angle has to be minimal so as to avoid tail strikes. This might have played into the contact when an unfortunately timed gust hit.

  10. yeah… here’s what AA customer service will say
    “We don’t generally give out compensation for events that are outside of our control. Clearly, we didn’t put the runway light there, but we encourage you to fly AA again and thank you for your continued loyalty”…

  11. Not alarmed by their tone. They are professionals. I’m surprised not a single passenger observed the damage.

  12. I’m also surprised none of the passengers (especially those sitting on window seats) noticed. I always try to get a window seat and look at the view during takeoff/landing.
    I’m glad no one was hurt though.

  13. There’s no rear view in a commercial jet unless the looked out a passenger window in the cabin

  14. Pilots are at a critical phase – take-off. They’re past V1 – they have to go flying.
    The wingtip is a long way from the flight deck – they may not even know or realize they hit something.
    An uncommanded roll very well could be a computer issue on a highly automated aircraft such as the A321. Could have also been a wind gust; which was gusting 20 knots at the time.
    They flew to altitude to burn off some fuel to avoid an overweight landing.
    IMO, pilots did their job. Safety first.

  15. @APK
    If I remember correctly, part of the reason there was a full hour between the takeoff and the landing back at JFK, was that they dumped some fuel.

  16. As a passenger, I would want pilots who acted just as professionally as these ones did. They are trained to be cool, calm, and collected. Would you really want someone in control who is not in control of their emotions? As for the damage to the wing, there is so much noise while taking off that it could easily have not been noticed…evidenced by the fact that no one did. As for telling passengers it was a computer issue? These pilots have minutes, even seconds, to figure out what has happened and try to mitigate it. They very well may have believed that it was a computer issue. Seriously, it seems to me that this article was written just to scare people. Give facts, not conjecture. Pilots lives are at stake every time they fly also. I really dont think they are up there with a problem, lying to passengers in order to save the airline some embarrassment. Give these pilots credit where it is due. They made sure they went back to the airport and possibly saved all those lives.

  17. Great. An article written by someone with no pilot experience and further commented on by people with no pilot experience.

    How did the pilots not know they hit something? Well, at the speeds they were going, hitting a distance marker is like a big hitting your windshield on the highway; unless it was in your face, you wouldn’t notice.

    Why were the pilots and ATC calm? Well, it’s because they are trained to operate that way. They performed exactly how they were supposed to.

    Lack is pilots being aware? Ha! Have you ever been in a cockpit? Field of view is very limited, except to the front where the plane is flying.

    I could go on forever, but this article is garbage. Assumptions, theories and uneducated statements; not facts. Find a new job…

  18. Agree… Why does AA always lie, even when there is no need?
    Guess it is the culture emanating from the top.

  19. While a 45-degree roll sounds extreme, as a passenger I’m not sure I’d notice an issue without seeing the wing. Depending on how you take off versus where you need to go, there can be some quick and steep turns while climbing. (Ever take off north from ICN?)

    It will be interesting to get the full details as the investigation unfolds. I’m not sure I disagree with the strategy of getting some good distance from the ground if there’s concern with controlling the plane. The goal is to return safely, and this doesn’t necessarily mean immediately.

  20. So back in 1998 I was flying down to Dallas and got put on ATA. It was during a bad snow storm, took me 3h to get to Midway and somehow I still got in the delayed flight… Which of course almost crashed on takeoff.

    Wind sheer event right as we started to lift and I watched the shadow of the wing and wing start coming closer together, I’d say we got to about maybe a few feet or less before the pilot was able to right the plane.

  21. I hope now when a flight attendant ask a passenger to roll up the window shade for take off and landing they won’t roll their eyes or act put out about it. We always ask in first rows on my small carrier which us US based. True on international carriers on take off and landing all shades are up. Sorry so if a bit of discomfort of sun in your eyes but there is reason for this request.

  22. The pilots did exactly what pilots do. The plane was returned to the ground without incident and without causing the passengers harm. They are trained to stay calm. You don’t want “alarmed” pilots. Duh

  23. @Ben

    Too soon to accuse the pilots of any wrongdoing. Sounds like they were calm and well collected.

    How do you know what the pilots knew and didn’t know ?

    It’s all hearsay at this point.

    Than again maybe one of the pilots made an error.

    That Russian hockey team Yaroslavl lokomotiv crash the plane banked hard on takeoff because one of the pilots was hitting the brake inadvertently.

  24. If an airplane receives substantial damage, it’s called an “accident” by the NTSB. I’m not convinced the cockpit crew can see the wings from the cockpit, but it sure seems like someone might hear/feel something with that much damage. I’m sure the FDR and CVR have been collected and the CVR will shed some light on what kind of conversation was going on in the cockpit. Interesting one to watch.

  25. Lucky, you do not know what you are talking about.
    The pilots duty is to maintain control of the aircraft.
    An incident at lift off means the airplane was beyond the point of no return.
    The pilots properly leveled the airplane, cleaned it up, and returned to base.
    They did everything by the book.
    Why don’t you take the train next time.
    Signed,
    48 year pilot

  26. First of all, let’s all be civil and stop saying Lucky doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That’s a pretty bold statement about someone we don’t know, and honestly quite rude.

    Secondly, it seems that the crew communicated the facts and opinions they knew at the time. The A321 is a highly computerized aircraft, so assuming a computer malfunction on takeoff would not be out of the ordinary, especially if the aircraft continued to climb and perform normally. From the pictures I’ve seen of the damage, it does not appear to have impacted hydraulic systems in the wing, so it’s possible that no warnings appeared in the cockpit.

    It also appears that this flight was at night time. Once the aircraft is in the air, it would probably be difficult for anyone to see the damage that was caused. On the A321, the pilots cannot see the wings from the cockpit, so they wouldn’t be able to see the damage either.

    We’ll have to wait for the NTSB findings to come out, but as a preliminary opinion, it seems that the Captain and First Officer acted professionally and by the book. Hopefully this turns out to be a weather related incident and nothing more. Let’s be thankful that no lives were lost and no injuries were reported. Flying is still the safest way to travel, thanks to highly competent flight crews, and incredibly safe aircraft like the A320 family.

  27. Listened to the audio, and as I pilot, I can say they handled the situation by the book. Aviate, navigate, and then communicate. They had already passed V1 when the incident occurred, and the takeoff could no longer be aborted. They got to cruise, worked the problem, couldn’t come to a conclusion, so they opted turn back. Kudos to the crew.

  28. Im an American Airlines employe but my opinions do not reflect the company’s.
    I invite you to listen to the ATC for Southwest 1380 on you tube which was a very serious accident including loss of life and you’ll hear the same calm demeanor.
    My 2 cents, Pilots took off, felt it, worked several check lists decided to come back and did it.
    Crosswind might have been a cause, NTSB will dig it up good but itll take a few months.
    Big bird like that you dont feel everything and 45 degree bank seems like a wrong guess by the pilot but again NTSB will find out.
    Search for crosswind landings on you tube and youll get the gist of what happened here…

  29. The writer of this article is obviously not a commercial pilot. I understand that articles are opinion based but an aircraft is not like a car where you can stop if something is wrong. There is a procedure and checklists that must be followed before requesting to turn back. In this case the pilot had control of the aircraft after the bank so it was plausible that wake was responsible depending on the previous aircraft that took off and at what point. An experienced crew will identify wake and they will discuss the situation before returning to the airport.

  30. I am an extremely nervous flyer, so I clicked on this ink with extreme trepidation. I see nothing here to describe as “a terrifying takeoff” like the headline suggests. In fact, the biggest criticism seems to be that no one noticed the event even happened!

    I think this is actually an example of very competent response to an incident, not an indictment of the pilot’s lack of awareness.

  31. I brake ride on this type of aircraft,and I can tell you looking out the side window that wing is not an easy view- often when doing a piggy back park, I will pop the window open and lean out for a clean view of the wing in relation to the left side aircraft we are parking between. Opening the window and leaning out, or even craning forward to look back probably not the wisest thing on a live flight that has just gotten 50 ft off the ground.

  32. A 45 degree bank just as you leave ground effect is a well big cause for alarm. Damage like that would be immediately evident in rate of climb relative to the angle of attack for it. The drag alone would constantly yaw the plane to that side. Definately the pilots were not in the qualified frame of mind at all for flight.

  33. 45 degree bank at rotation?! The amount of vertical lift that is traded for horizontal, a super critical wing, and it’s 35 degree sweep; this would have been quite a dramatic roll for the pax.

    Remember, 45 degrees is a “steep” turn and will produce 1.45Gs, uncomfortable for unaccustomed people.

  34. The crew would have known the bank was around 45° because the primary flight display would have told them so, although the actual angle of bank would be a guess as the flight display doesn’t specify degrees except the descent and ascent angle.
    It’s highly likely they thought it could have been a gust and likely was that caused the roll. Uncontrolled rolls on takeoff could be a number of things, but they have a number of instruments and if they see the engines are both operating normally and there are no other indications that suggest anything other than a gust, they would continue. Clearly their decision to want to return means something else was going on in the cockpit. They likely did have a computer error they couldn’t correct through a checklist (possibly a sensor damaged in the wing), but the flight “felt” ok, but erred on the side of caution and returned but didn’t think it warranted assistance upon landing.
    As for not knowing they hit something – unless they heard it, felt it, or someone in the cabin saw it, it’s unlikely there would be any indication other than the “computer error”.
    Clearly there’s a reason for the uncontrolled roll, but since this an Airbus, there’s very little feedback in the side stick like there would be in a yolk. Wx and Doppler records will show what caused it, along with the flight data recorder.
    The pilots did their job, and everyone got back ok.
    I expect a couple of things from this – the NTSB will mandate an open blinds rule on take off, descent and landing like most of the developed world does, and maybe procedures/checklists may be looked at for specific errors following uncontrolled rolls regardless of when they occur in flight.

  35. Two things i have learned from this blog.
    Dont take food from a lounge to go. Dont take signs and lights from a runway to go.

    🙂 safe travels Lucky!!

  36. The author of this article might fly a lot, but he doesn’t know a lot about flying. I can’t take someone seriously that speculates without checking their facts and prints an article.

  37. @Andy 11235

    Since being argumentative seems to be the tone for this thread, I wanted to speculate that if a plane banked 45 degrees when it was only 50′ off the ground, you would notice. On the other hand, I doubt it was a full 45-degree roll – I don’t know how tall the lights are, but from the pictures of where the strike occurred, if the angle was that extreme, it would seem likely there would be grass stains on the bottom of the winglets. Personally, I always watch out the windows during take-off and landing, as it’s the most interesting part of the flight for me (I fly foreign, blinds-up carriers almost exclusively), so about that time I would thankful I packed a change of boxers in my carry-on.

  38. The pilots EFIS (Electronic flight instrumentation system) gives them a very accurate and easy to read indication of the bank angle. So when they said the plane banked 45 degrees they meant 45 degrees. Also, the A321 is a fly by wire aircraft, meaning computers control the aircraft all the time, so an uncomanded 45 degree bank would quite likely be “a computer problem”.

  39. I’ll echo others in saying that the pilot’s tone of voice means nothing.
    Also, what is unsaid is just as important as what is said

    Same issue happens in my job (doctor, non pilot)
    When the garbage hits the fan I calmly tell my team what I need them to do
    I dont make conjectures
    I state what I know, what I plan, and what I need

    Everything. I do has a routine, a flow. If I deviate from the typical process everyone conscious in the room knows there’s a problem. Screaming doesn’t help

    I assume this is similar. Simply stating that the plane had to go back indicated to all involved that something wrong happened

    That said… how about science!?
    Plane flew great with a huge gouge out of the wing!
    Bravo

  40. This is my usually flight I take, but happened to be on vacation that week and on the ground. Reading some of these comments just makes me want to scream at how people are rushing to judgement , esp knowing how highly trained & experienced the crews are who work this flight, and think they know everything. It is never one thing that leads to a crash, but rather is similar to the many holes in a wheel of Swiss cheese that rarely all align to create one big hole. A few things come to mind as someone who regularly takes this A321T flight. 1. It’s night time and pitch black outside when this flight operates and many times out of JFK you take off over water, not city, making it even darker outside to see. 2. Only maybe 2 passengers in row 8 or 9 would’ve been able to see the damage from their Business Class seats that are angled away from the window and face more toward the aisle. 3. Most passengers on this flight are top tier frequent fliers who have had a long day at work, or have come in from overseas, and put their complimentary noise cancelling headsets on and are sleeping before leaving the gate. 4. Did it ever cross anyone’s mind that maybe it was a computer issue and they hit a sign while trying to regain control after takeoff? Does anyone not remember Northwest flight 255 that crashed in Detroit in the 1980s? It hit a couple light poles in the rental car parking lot while wobbling out of control while trying to gain lift after takeoff. I commend this amazing Crew who handled this with the utmost skill and professionalism. They are heroes! In the meantime I will wait for the NTSB findings before rushing to judgement.

  41. This flight departed at 8:25pm, 55 minutes after sunset in New York that day. It’s not too surprising there weren’t any passengers who noticed anything wrong. Especially as only a handful of J/F passengers actually have a good view of the front of the wing anyway.

  42. I think it’s amazing how media is made available, Flightaware recordings, and neer do wells can suddenly become the largest group of armchair quarterbacks unqualified to assess aircraft accidents, crashes, terrorist hijackings, car crashes, shootings, et al.

    Perhaps as a low time pilot and reading how three of five aircraft in my training school were destroyed with the last crash resulting in two deaths required some patience for the NTSB report to find cause. I already had some ideas but never commented publicly. Second guessing as armchair quarterbacks without any real experience to make decisions while flying separates pilots from pubic comments.

  43. It baffles me how AA have/allow blinds down for take off etc. Think of it as safety awareness, seeing what’s happening just in case, heaven forbid. On qantas blinds must up for take off and landing.

  44. There are a ton of miserable people on this site commenting…smh Be grateful you land safely every time.

    As the plane rotated there was an “uncontrolled command” – which yes would be considered a computer issue/malfunction. Yeah, you miserable folks can all apologize to AA 😉

    Yes the wing made contact with the runway and dragged for quite a bit hitting a breakaway sign.

    On climb out (they probably knew something went down) but was not aware of how severe until a passenger in biz class alerted the FA to the visible wing damage, and that’s when the pilots started their checks and decided to request a return to Kennedy.

    BTW – there is video of an Aeromexico flight suffering what appears to be something very similar 2 days before.

  45. Window shades down? You will never find that on Turkish, Etihad, Thai…..some of the recent flights taken. Take off for sure all windows up and when landing they take your headset, blanket and ask you to open the blinds and put your seat in an upright position!!

  46. You mentioned that you were sure how good the pilots are at estimating angles when it comes to how much they rolled. The primary instrument called the attitude indicator has markings for degrees of roll, no need to estimate.

  47. My eyes are almost rolling into the back of my head on this. These pilots handled this situation professionally and as is expected of any certificated pilot, from a VFR PPL in a Cherokee to a 747-8 captain at Lufthansa. When a large transport category commercial aircraft is rotating, they are well past the point where they are going to discontinue takeoff – for any reason.

    It is entirely possible that the aircraft banked 45 degrees. They didn’t say it was in a turn, but a bank. If they’d rotated, then gained some sort of altitude, it would take a 45 degree bank for the winglet to hit a sign on the ground. This isn’t some sort of a math error – pilots know what a 45 degree bank is.

    Meanwhile, it is entirely likely that they noticed the bank and were concerned, but needed to continue and gain altitude, run checklists and allow some fuel to burn off before coming back. The aircraft was stable and controllable, so there was no reason to try and come back right away.

    Oh, and for the person who mentioned saying “mayday” or “pan,” in the US, unless it is a situation of serious loss of control/power, you aren’t going to hear mayday. When an emergency is declared, that aircraft is the priority of ATC and they will get exactly what they want, when they want. Even an aircraft that asks for priority due to a minor issue will get the Royal treatment. I simply stated my need to make a precautionary diversion last month and I was given a greeting by 2 fire trucks, just to make sure I was ok. These pilots stated what they wanted and were given the level of service needed to get back in safely. It’s as simple as that.

  48. The pilots did an outstanding job.
    The passengers were truly forgiving.
    The critics covered every crook and cranny.
    A few people mused.
    It’s all right now baby blue.

  49. Clearly who ever wrote this article needs to do some research on flying or ask a pilot. First off we have no reasion to believe the pilots did anything but there jobs. Yes there was damage. No its not severe. How it got there. We dont know at this time but not enough to down the plane. Believe it or not but a plane such as an a321 can take a punishment and still fly. No the pilots of an aircraft with a mtow of more than 100 tons would not feel the wing tip sraping something. Flying 101. Fly the plane. Alot of fatal accidents have been caused by non critical situations due to crew not simply flying the plane. These AA pilots did the right thing. They flew it. Assessed it. Communicated it and landed it. Lets let the pros tell us after they look into it and see why what and when.

  50. The A321 is “fly by wire”. So it is conceivable that there was a computer glitch which caused the plane to bank uncontrollably on takeoff. Also, wake turbulence could have been a factor if the plane took off shortly after a “heavy”, which is common at a large airport. What puzzles me are the multiple dents (spead out) on the leading edge. Plus, the aileron doesn’t appear to be damaged, eliminating structural damage as the cause for the “bank”. It also seems to me that in order for a wing to strike a runway light, it would have happened just as the “gear” left the ground. Who knows? As far as the pilots were concerned, they performed brilliantly.

  51. You clearly have no idea about aircraft and piloting them.

    The pilots “guessed” their roll angle via this little thing called the “artificial horizon”. There’s no guessing, it told them the exact roll angle.

  52. As an American Airline deicer, I saw many, too many take offs and when we check for ice contamination we do check for damage also, especially in the wings, the pilots did check the aircraft before boarding doing a walk around, but they could miss something higher, plus the little window of the cabin only allows to see the end of the wings and that doing on purpose, their seat is to look fotward and not mirrors, so, they acted correctly, when guts of wind hit an aircraft they could bank, lose altitude and go up again, I saw that with a 35mph wind and I prayed because I was scared, the pilot pointed up and gained altitude again…I really admire those people who choose to be pilots! What a responsibility! Never I will critizise them, plus…there are new pilots getting experience…instead pray for them.

  53. One point I want to make is about how the article framed the lack of pilot awareness. Today’s large airliners are not like small cars where you would have to be completely unaware to not notice when you hit something. Wrap your head around the idea that these large airliners are more like moving sky scraper buildings turned on their side. You could be working in an office on one side of the building (or on one floor) and not even know that a car slammed through the wall on the other side of the building (or on a different floor).

    The bank angle on takeoff was unusual but it is entirely possible the pilots had no idea the wing made contact with the ground until they were notified by cabin crew, who may not have known until they were notified by passengers sitting near the wing area.

  54. Airbus engineers are now here t JFK deciding weather or not to Junk the airplane due to the damaged left wing…

  55. I think it’s really great that people are leaving such harsh, angry criticism here. And that it’s personally directed at Lucky, like that he should “find a new job.”

    Because after all, this is a blog by and for professional pilots. And it’s reasonable to expect that the writer would have all the knowledge that a commercial pilot with 20+ years of experience would have.

    Oh, wait, sorry, this a miles and points blog? Nvm…

    (BTW I did find all the pilots’ insights above fascinating. It sounds like this crew did exactly what they should have done. But it’s troubling that damage like this could happen and the pilots didn’t know about it. Maybe that’s more of an aircraft design issue than a pilot performance issue. But it’s still troubling.)

  56. Inquiring minds want to know if American Airlines receives a bill from the JFK airport to repair the runway “edge light” embedded in the damaged aircraft wing? After aircraft repair, does the pilot-in-charge get to keep the runway edge light as a souvenir?

  57. I thought shades-up during take off and landing was universal so people’s eyes can adjust to outside light in case of an emergency evacuation!

  58. Looking at the pictures of the strike, its not that bad. a slat and wing tip. Many of the a/c flown today the crew are unable to see the tip. Hard to say they felt or heard it. Per the Rules they did the right thing to return. but the a/c would have been fine going to LAX . Have seen a lot worst over the years. A/C are tough they can good bad , but can still fly.

  59. I was on the plane. We definately knew we almost went down. It was very obvious.

    We saw the wing when we landed.

    Pilots lost control 100 percent. Thankfully they regained it before we bounced

  60. Interestingly it appears from flight aware that this same flight is returning to JFK tonight just 40 minutes after take off. (?) .. No explanations so far. I would also add that another good reason for blinds up during takeoff and landing would be for passengers to see fire on either side of plane in event of emergency exit on the tarmac.

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