A freak microburst at Orlando Executive Airport (KORL) overturned a Diamond DA42 Twin Star on Thursday evening, Sept. 1, killing one of the two on board. Another parked aircraft also overturned.
The DA42 was holding short of Runway 7 when the storm hit the airport. Several observers, including pilots of other aircraft and air traffic controllers, said they were surprised by how quickly the severe winds arrived. Peak gusts reached 54 knots at the time of the tragedy.
Weather observations at ORL were recorded as: KORL 012108Z VRB05G49KT 1/4SM R07/0400V6000FT TSRA BKN016 BKN029 OVC040 26/19A2995 RMK AO2 PK WND 12054/2055 WSHFT 2048 LTG DSNT ALQDS P0067 T0256018.
Reports suggest that a student pilot and flight instructor were on board, and the instructor was injured, but survived. The nature of the fatal injuries sustained by the victim, later identified by the Orlando Fire Department as Alfa Ekele, were not immediately made clear.
Judith-Ann Jarrette, director of the Orlando Executive Airport, told local news outlets, “The [Twin Star] had taxied out, and it was going to be departing on our main runway, Runway 7, and in the severe weather, the wind flipped the aircraft upside down.”