Wichita Tornadoes Damage Boeing, Aviation Museum
Tornadoes that swept through Wichita, Kans., over the weekend damaged buildings belonging to Boeing and subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems, and several aircraft at the Kansas Aviation Museum were torn from their tiedowns. Spirit builds fuselages for Boeing 737s, and the production line could be slowed while the company recovers, according to the Wichita Eagle. "It will be a couple days before we have a good, solid plan," Spirit CEO Jeff Turner told the Eagle on Monday. Several hundred workers were in the building on Saturday night when the storms hit, but all were safe. At the museum, one airplane was wrecked -- a Vietnam-era Cessna O2-B Super Skymaster -- and three others were damaged.
"We dodged a bullet," museum director Lon Smith told the Wichita Eagle. Despite the damage to aircraft on the ramp, the museum building was practically untouched. "We had one broken pane of glass on the building," Smith said. At Spirit, about 80 percent of the damaged areas should be back in operation soon, but the other 20 percent will be "more problematic," spokesperson Debbie Gann told the Eagle. Several buildings at another Boeing site, also in Wichita, sustained some damage, but no shutdowns were expected. A Hawker Beechcraft manufacturing facility also was slightly damaged, but work was not affected. The Kansas Air National Guard, at the McConnell Air Force Base, also sustained some damage. No serious injuries were reported at any of the sites. Maximum winds in the area were 165 mph, according to the National Weather Service.