The FAA says Delta Flight 1063, a Boeing 757, declared an emergency for an engine related problem shortly after takeoff at 3:10 p.m., and the pilot turned around. The plane landed safely at JFK.
According to CNN correspondent Ali Velshi, who was on the flight, passengers could hear loud grinding sounds and the plane started shaking.
"Very big kudos to captin and crew of @Delta 1063 JKF-LAX for a quick turnaround & landing after bird strike and cabin filling with smoke," Velshi tweeted.
The plane was carrying 172 passengers and seven crew members.
Delta says the flight landed without incident. No injuries were reported.
Officials were checking the plane for damage. The passengers were switched to another LA-bound flight.
A passenger also got video of those spooky moments.
"I was actually videoing take off which I've only done twice in my whole life, and a flock of black birds hit the right engine, like a Volkswagen Beetle being grinded through the engine. The flight, the equipment, the flight then got disrupted in the air. I thought we were going to go down and the next thing that happened, a smell came through the cabin," the passenger said on the phone.
The pilot's voice stayed steady as he contacted air traffic control, a lot like when Captain "Sully" Sullenberger was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River.
The Delta captain looped back to the runway on one engine.
Pilot: Delta 1063 has had an engine failure on the right engine declaring an emergency due to a bird strike.
Pilot: Departure Delta 1063 we have declared an emergency engine failure on the right engine request a visual return back to 1-3 right
Pilot: New request we'd like to make a visual return to 2-2 right
ATC: Delta 1063 you are just going to go in visually?
Pilot: yes ma'am Delta 1063 that would be great.
JFK has had 2,500 bird strikes since 1990, most happened during takeoff and landing when planes are close to the ground.
Worldwide, strikes have cost $600 million in damages and killed 219 people since 1988.
The most hazardous birds in order are Geese, The Canada Goose, and other ducks.
Delta released a statement saying: "We are proud of our flight crew and the professionalism and training that was on display during this non-routine event."
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