Wind storm totals six planes, six hangars at local airport

Wind storm totals six planes, six hangars at local airport

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Wednesday night's winds left behind a mess at the Classic Airstrip just of Highway 18 between Jonesboro and Lake City.

Winds up to 60 mph damaged plane and hangar doors, ripped plane wings, mashed windshields and more. 

Marty Bunch, the local airport's owner, said the storm totaled six planes and six hangars, and also damaged another plane and 12 more hangars.

Crews were working at the airstrip all day Thursday, but they could have weeks of work ahead of them.

"It's cleaned up a lot today," RV-4 owner Dan Purnell said. "There was three airplanes piled up on top of this airplane earlier today, but a crane got them off. The storm came from the northeast and blew to the southwest and the wall off the adjacent hangar was on top of my airplane, what got it. Three years of work laying here in disrepair."

Purnell said it is still too early to tell exactly what the storm damaged.

"We didn't have the time to tear it down and see," Purnell said. "If the spar is damaged, you're talking about an entire wing rebuild. Talking about a lot of money for that."

Purnell said he also does not know how long it will take to repair his plane.

"I don't know, but it took almost 4,000 hours to build it," Purnell said. 

Purnell finished his RV-4 plane back in 1992 and has stored it at the Classic Airstrip ever since.

"I've never had any damage before here from wind," Purnell said. 

The wind spared some but they were the minority.

"Most all the doors on these 26 hangars were blown in, couple of different sections of roof were gone," Purnell said. "This section was just leveled and you can see it out through the field."

Now all he and the other plane owners can do is start over, but building a plane from the bottom up is nothing new to Purnell.

"You bet," Purnell said. "Gonna try to get it rebuilt and flyable again."

Bunch said he does not know how much it will cost to repair all of the planes and hangars. He said the planes' owners and crews will continue to clean up the damage every day for the next week or two. 

Copyright 2014 KAIT. All rights reserved.