American Airlines employees have been buzzing about an April 20 flight from D/FW to Paris in which a panel from the plane's air conditioning system apparently fell off after takeoff.
According to a message the airline sent to pilots today, there was a "loud noise" and "short-lived vibration" as the Boeing 767 passed about 10,000 feet. The captain consulted with the crew and mechanics on the ground, and they determined it posed no threat and may have been cargo shifting in the belly of the jet.
When the plane landed, it was discovered that a lower fuselage panel, which covered the air conditioner, was missing. Still, the airline said that safety was never compromised and that the flight crew made the right decision in keeping the plane aloft. An internal investigation into the incident is underway.
The incident occurred just one week after American had to ground its fleet of MD-80 jets for inspections.
UPDATE, 9:30 a.m. THURSDAY
We've posted some photos of the big scary hole in the bottom of the plane.