CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – American Airlines confirmed a flight from the Charleston International Airport had to be diverted Tuesday night after encountering turbulence that damaged one of the plane’s wings.
American Flight 3729 from Charleston to Dallas-Fort Worth, an Embraer E175 operated by Envoy, diverted to Birmingham after “a possible mechanical issue,” an airline spokesperson said. The flight landed without incident at 6:45 p.m.
A Federal Aviation Administration pilot’s report states the plane encountered moderate to severe turbulence resulting in the loss of a portion of the wing. The plane was flying at an altitude of 36,000 feet when the portion of the wing, known as a winglet, was lost.
Maintenance crews were inspecting the aircraft and customers were placed on an alternate flight that departed Tuesday night.
“We thank our crew for their professionalism, ensuring the safety of their fellow team members and customers on board,” the spokesperson said.
Photos taken of the plane before and after its landing appear to show the right winglet, missing. Winglets are vertical extensions of wingtips that improve an aircraft’s fuel efficiency and cruising range, according to NASA’s website.
Winglets increase an aircraft’s operating efficiency by reducing what is called induced drag at the tips of the wings, the site states.
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