A GoFundMe account has been set up to help a family-owned flight school whose fleet of training aircraft was all but wiped out in a freak weather event on Thursday. Eight aircraft belonging to ATD Flight Systems were destroyed and three were damaged after what the National Weather Service says may have been a “gustnado” that blew through Charles B. Wheeler Airport in Kansas City, Missouri, about 6 a.m. A gustnado is a whirlwind that forms in thunderstorm outflows. Only two of the company’s aircraft were airworthy after the storm.
The planes are normally inside a hangar owned by a local FBO but had been moved outside to make way for an annual charity event planned for Friday night. The Hays family has operated the flight school since 1996, and KMBC is reporting there is concern that insurance won’t cover the full replacement of the fleet because of skyrocketing used aircraft prices. “While the future of the flight school remains unknown, we are humbled by the support of our incredible staff and the words of encouragement from our community,” the company said in a statement. In the meantime, the two remaining aircraft will be used to get students nearing their checkrides their last few hours.