About 20 aircraft were underwater and an aircraft parts warehouse was flattened by a landslide as privately owned Cornelia Fort Airpark, Nashville, Tenn., succumbed last Monday to the highest water it's seen since it opened in the 1940s. All but one aircraft were still mostly submerged through last Tuesday afternoon, even though the floodwater had then receded from its Monday high by about two feet. This comes after the airpark, which was reportedly having financial difficulties, had been put on the market. "The water rose so quickly that it was already over the runway before anyone knew they had to get the airplanes out," Jerry Shephard, an aircraft mechanic for the airport's operator, told The Tennessean.com. Just one twin, parked just inside the perimeter fence on the road that leads out of the airport, stayed almost dry -- but "almost" appears to mean the water may have stopped short of the engines. But damage came to some other aircraft not only from the rising water, but the current (and debris) that came with it.
The airpark is located just across the Cumberland River from Tennessee's Opryland. One Navajo that had been tied down on the apron ended up with a large tree trunk on top of it. Hangars were also flooded. Reports suggest that every aircraft on the field -- hangared or tied down -- plus the airpark's buildings and repair equipment were caught up in the rising water. The airpark is located just five miles northeast of Nashville, with a field elevation of 418 feet, according to AirNav.com. It operates one 3,500- by 50-foot runway and is privately owned by Colemill Enterprises.