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Delta flight returns to Salt Lake City after a panel fell off during takeoff

Mar 26, 2024, 4:07 PM

FILE: A ground crew prepares to unload luggage from an arriving Delta Airlines flight at the Seattl...

FILE: A ground crew prepares to unload luggage from an arriving Delta Airlines flight at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on March 15, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The state of Washington has over 600 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) and U.S. airports have been crushed with returning citizens after restrictions on travel from Europe were implemented. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Delta Air Lines flight over the weekend was cut short and the plane returned to Salt Lake City after a panel behind one of the two engines fell off during takeoff.

The Airbus A330neo jetliner left for Amsterdam on Sunday but got only as far as the Montana-North Dakota boundary before turning back and landing in Salt Lake City three hours later.

According to information on a safety database for the Federal Aviation Administration, a pylon panel behind the engine on the left wing “detached on takeoff.” Pylons are structures used to attach engines to the wing, and they include fairing panels that are not load-bearing but improve aerodynamics.

It was not clear how pilots became aware of the missing panel.

Delta said Tuesday that the plane returned safely after “a reported mechanical issue.” There were 260 passengers and 13 crew members on the flight.

Delta said there were no injuries and the plane taxied to the gate under its own power. The airline said it apologized to customers for delaying their travel and was working to get them to their destinations as quickly as possible.

The incident was at least the third time in three months that a panel has come off a U.S. jetliner.

It was far less harrowing than the blowout of a door plug from a new Alaska Airlines jetliner over Oregon on Jan. 5. This month, a piece of aluminum skin on a 26-year-old United Airlines jet was missing after the plane landed in Oregon. Both of those incidents involved Boeing 737s.

The two-aisle Airbus jet involved in the most recent incident was built in 2020. According to Flightradar24, a flight-tracking site, the plane has not flown since Sunday’s aborted flight.

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Delta flight returns to Salt Lake City after a panel fell off during takeoff