Storm Damages 22 Aircraft In Ottawa

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The front that's hammered the central part of the continent for the past couple of days took a particularly vicious toll on an airport in Ottawa, Canada. On the same night that members of Rockliffe Flying Club were celebrating their annual black-tie Wings Dinner on Saturday night, a destructive weather system ripped through the flight line only yards away on their airport grounds. As they left the dinner, they were greeted by a debris field of aircraft and parts mixed with uprooted trees, a smashed clubhouse, trashed storage boxes, and two inverted aircraft, each of which was left blocking access to the airport's taxiway. According to the Rockcliffe Flying Club Manager Simon Garrett, at least 22 aircraft were damaged by the severe storm, half of which appear to be probable write-offs.

"The destruction was unbelievable," said Garrett. "I wasn't sure how we'd get operational again." The spontaneous efforts of over 80 club members had the airport back in operation by noon on Sunday; however, the club's entire fleet has been grounded pending inspection of damages to their aircraft. Included in the list of aircraft casualties were five or six ultralights that were "torn apart" and tossed halfway along the airport's flight line from where they'd been parked and picketed. Damage to the club's fleet will also force cancellation of all instructional flights until inspections can be carried out. So far, weather specialists haven't determined exactly what hit the airfield, which traces its aviation roots as far back as WW1. A fast-moving cold front appears to have been the culprit in creating what's speculated to have been either a tornado, a squall line or a localized microburst.