An American Airlines Boeing 737-800, registration N815NN performing flight AA-2279 from New York La Guardia,NY to Miami,FL (USA), was climbing out of La Guardia’s runway 31 when the crew stopped the climb at about 17,000 feet reporting they had a loose panel and needed to return to La Guardia, the crew did not request any assistance. While descending back to La Guardia the crew requested to slow down to 210 KIAS early and reported they had an open panel at the wing, they did not need any assistance upon arrival. The aircraft returned to La Guardia Airport for a safe landing on runway 31 about 25 minutes after departure. The aircraft vacated the runway and taxied to the apron.
A runway inspection found debris on the runway, the runway was closed, a number of approaches to runway 31 needed to go around.
N815NN received substantial damage to right hand engine cowl and right hand wing.
A replacement Boeing 737-800 registration N917AN reached Miami with a delay of 2 hours.
The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground at La Guardia about 35 hours after landing.
The open engine access doors:
Full story, here.