Yesterday, a Continental flight headed to Newark Liberty Airport had to make an emergency landing after taking off from Panama City's airport because of a bird strike. WCBS 2 reports, "According to airline officials, Flight 1022, a Boeing 737-900 with 176 on board, took off from Tocumen Airport at 10:05 a.m., but quickly ran into a trouble when the bird strike caused the left engine to catch fire."
The pilot was able to shut down the engine and get the plane back to the airport. A passenger on the plane wrote on a messageboard today, "Finally landed in Newark at 12:30 am this morning via Miami. It was a very scary experience. We took a Buzzard into the left engine when climbing after takeoff. This made an awful noise. Sort of like a truck backfire but bigger and did not stop. There was an air Wisconsin pilot in uniform, who was a passenger on the plane. He was the one who walked up the isle and looked out the bulkhead window to see the engine on fire. Pilots and CO flight staff were calm and helpful. The flight attendant in coach was terrific and prepped us for emergency landing. Noise and vibration had us all scared. We did not land for about 20 long minutes. We were out over the water when the noise started. Landing was fine but we burnt the brakes and wheels. We sat on the runway for almost one hour before departing to a bus. It was calm on the plane but once in the terminal, people were crying and hugging."
A bird strike famously knocked out the engines of US Airways Filght 1549, prompting pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger to land the plane in the Hudson River, prompting the NYC to kill thousands of geese near and not near the airports. There is also opposition to a trash facility near LaGuardia, because it would allegedly attract more birds.