Monday, April 19, 2010

The storm and the jet-blast look

While setting things up for the April 17th safety seminar, John and were at the Latrobe Airport terminal building bottom floor.  The weather outside looked ominous and the dark, rolling clouds became more intense while we were setting the room up.  Somewhere in time, we heard a 737 gambling plane from Mississippi touch down and taxi to the area in front of us.

The lineman from Vee Neal was standing there to position the jet to the parking spot. The jet came to a stop and as we stood there watching things happen, we noticed an increase in the winds. All of a sudden, the winds went hyper and the orange cones that were placed on the ramp, to indicate the parking position, flew into the air and headed north, post haste. The lineman started to lose his footing and I worried he would be blown away! (And it wasn't because-a-beautiful-woman-stepped-into-the-room kind of being blown away, either.) He struggled to keep standing and eventually was able to walk over to the protection of the cat-walk.  We watched until the winds subsided. It turns out the winds, at the peak, were 86 MPH.  That's Category 1 hurricane velocity!

There was one casualty on the ramp - an untethered Piper Archer III from out of town got blown into a sign along the fence.

A hangar on the southern ramp of the airport gave up some skin in the game as well.

That was a pretty exciting yet frightening experience. We mused about the possibilities of what would have happened to the Archer had the winds been more from the south; since the Piper was parked in front of the parked 737.

Lesson learned:  never, ever underestimate the wrath of "Mother Nature".  She's still in charge.

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