Severe windstorm

Update: pix at the Rain Aviation Blog (via Dave Rooney’s comment).

My home airport, Ottawa Rockcliffe, was hit by severe winds yesterday: I’ve heard from 18-24 airplanes damaged, at least 10 of which are write-offs.

After supper today my spouse and I drove to the airport to check the damage. On the way there, driving along the Rockcliffe Parkway (past the fields where the RCMP Musical Ride horses graze), we could see a zig-zag line of mature trees snapped in half, while trees only metres away had not a twig disturbed.

Volunteers had spent the day clearing up at the airport, but the damage was still apparent: some planes with bent wings, others on their backs, and one smashed up against a fence and flattened so that you could barely tell it had been a plane. Most of the damaged planes were high-wings, which makes sense (if you’ve ever tried to taxi a high-wing plane in strong winds, you know what I’m talking about), but there was also a Cherokee Six on its back, having bent the vertical stab of the Cessna beside it on the way over.

Most planes, however, looked untouched. There were two badly damaged planes within 100 metres of my tie-down spot, but not only did my plane look OK through the fence (except rotated 5-10 degrees in its spot), but a big snow scoop that had been leaning against the box behind my plane hadn’t even tipped over. When I can get into the airport, I’ll check the control surfaces more closely for damage.

Given how specific the damage was — one plane might be totalled, while its neighbour was untouched — I suspect a tornado, though I haven’t seen official confirmation yet. Tornadoes aren’t incredibly common here in Ottawa, but they do happen. My brother, who lives a few kilometres from the airport, lost a window and a few screens to heavy winds. Someone my daughter knows in our neighbourhood had a roof ripped off a house. In my yard, one lawn chair blew over, and … er … that’s it. No branches down from the trees, no garbage cans blown around. Parts of the city lost power. My spouse and I were watching TV in the basement, and never even noticed the storm.

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3 Responses to Severe windstorm

  1. Dave Rooney says:

    Good to hear that things look OK. The storm even made AVWeb in the States:


  2. Philippe says:

    I’m glad your plane is safe; we had an instructor and student planning a cross country from CYUL to CYRO that evening; wisely they cancelled. Do you know if the upturned planes were tied down? I once say a 172 here at Trudeau flipped on its back along with its concrete block tie-downs during a wind storm in 2006.

  3. viennatech says:

    David, did you manage to get a full assesment of FBJO? I hope she’s in tip top shape. I was most saddened by the gorgeous 182 that used to park right in front of the club. The one that was front and center for my wedding. She’s no longer. It looks like they moved parking spots with someone else and sure enough, were in the path of the tornado. It always takes a disaster to show the strength of a club and it looks like the RFC came out with full colors flying. I’m proud to be a part of an orginazation like that.

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