The US FAA is downloading the digital flight data recorder of a JetBlue Airbus A320 that experienced a tailstrike on departure from New York's JFK airport in gusty crosswind conditions on the evening of 28 March.

According to the preliminary incident report, JetBlue flight 217 (N646JB) returned to the airport and landed without incident. An FAA spokesman tells ATI that damage was limited to scrapes on the tail and damage to drain pipes used to direct waste water away from the aircraft.

Pilots of flight 217 had radioed to controllers that the aircraft had veered to the right "very rapidly" on lift off, indicating that perhaps the landing gear had struck a bird. Another JetBlue aircraft on the ground at JFK however had radioed the tower and independently confirmed that Flight 217 had experienced a tailstrike on rotation.

Wind that evening was gusting to 29kt in a direction largely perpendicular to Runway 22R, the departure runway.

JetBlue could not be immediately reached for comment.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news