Flight from Charleston to Dallas diverted after losing winglet

An American Airlines flight heading to Dallas from Charleston, South Carolina, was forced to divert to an Alabama airport on Tuesday after the aircraft lost a winglet, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

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The Embraer 175 jet, on a flight operated by Envoy Air, encountered “severe turbulence,” causing the pilot to land at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, the Star-Telegram of Fort Worth reported. The FAA, in its preliminary report, said that when the aircraft landed at 7:15 p.m. CDT, crew members observed “a piece of the right winglet was missing,” according to the newspaper.

A winglet is a vertical fin on the tip of an aircraft wing that helps reduce drag and improve range and fuel efficiency, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.

It is unclear where the missing winglet landed, according to the newspaper. The aircraft was flying at an altitude of 36,000 feet when the winglet was lost, WCSC-TV reported.

No one was hurt on American Eagle flight 3729, which was bound for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“The flight landed without incident at BHM shortly after 6:45 p.m. (local time) and taxied to the gate under its own power,” American Airlines spokesman Derek Walls told the newspaper in an email. “Upon arrival, the aircraft was taken out of service for evaluation by our maintenance team and all customers were transferred to another aircraft, which departed BHM for DFW last night.”

The jet had four crew members and 71 passengers on board, the Morning News reported.

Passengers boarded another plane for Dallas at 10:17 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, Birmingham airport chief operating officer Jim Payne told The Post and Courier.