Federal safety officials are investigating an American Airlines flight in which the plane tipped in a strong wind and a wingtip clipped a runway marker during takeoff last week from New York’s Kennedy Airport.
The pilots cut short the flight to Los Angeles and landed back at JFK about 30 minutes later. No injuries were reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that it is investigating the April 10 incident with help from the Federal Aviation Administration, American, and the union for the airline’s pilots.
The safety board said a team of six would investigate the incident, including experts in aircraft recorders, flight operations and performance. The board said it did not plan to send investigators to the airport but that could change if needed.
On a recording by LiveATC.net, one of the pilots on American Airlines Flight 300 is heard telling air traffic controllers that the plane banked sharply — 45 degrees — to the left during takeoff, apparently from a strong crosswind.
The pilots requested permission to return to JFK, where they landed and taxied to the gate without incident, according to a spokesman for American Airlines.
American said there were 102 passengers and eight crew members on the Airbus A321 jet.
After the plane landed, workers discovered damage to the left wing, according to an FAA spokeswoman.
Pilots usually prefer to take off into the wind, but there are techniques used to adjust wing surfaces for crosswind takeoffs, according to an FAA handbook.