Arizona’s Chandler Municipal Airport was hit by a freak storm on Tuesday night that damaged or destroyed an estimated 30 airplanes. Local meteorologists blamed the damage on microbursts they estimated at peak speeds of around 60 mph, though the extent of the damage to some of the airplanes would suggest even stronger winds were to blame.
Flying reader and airplane owner Stephen Nolan sent us these photos of the damage. Nolan said that he lost his Piper Warrior. The light single was “picked up and moved 200-300 yards and dropped down,” Nolan wrote in an email to Flying. Another one of his airplanes, a Piper Saratoga, was parked next to the Warrior but was unscathed.
No one was injured in the fierce storm, though airplanes weren’t the only victims. A number of businesses suffered damage to their offices and hangars. One FBO had a hangar door ripped off its tracks. In several instances, airplane parts were found hundreds of yards from where the storm hit planes.
As you can see from the photos in the accompanying gallery, most of the planes damaged were light singles, though some larger planes, including a Beechcraft King Air and a Jet Commander, were heavily damaged in the storm.
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