Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sky Manor Airport (N40), Pittstown, New Jersey: Hurricane Sandy blows roof off hangar, smashes aerobat's 'dream' plane

Hurricane Sandy blows roof off hangar, crushes planes

Rick Epstein / Hunterdon County Democrat 

Rick Epstein / Hunterdon County Democrat

Rick Epstein / Hunterdon County Democrat

Rick Epstein / Hunterdon County Democrat


Rick Epstein / Hunterdon County Democrat

 ALEXANDRIA TWP. — Hurricane Sandy blew the roof off a hangar at Sky Manor Airport and when it fell back way off-kilter it crushed three airplanes belonging to aerobat Kendal Simpson.

Simpson, who grew up in Holland Township and and now lives in Phillipsburg, feels bad enough about the two monoplanes, but the destruction of the red two-seat biplane is the heartbreaker. It's the one he built from a kit and that he flies in air shows.

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, at about 5 p.m., he and some friends were in the wrecked hangar assessing the damage. Although the stunt plane looks like it could be pulled out fixed, Simpson said, "It's a total loss. The frame is twisted and the wings are bent." A precision stunt plane is not like a car — "You don't just yank it back straight and go driving down the road with it." Only two of the three planes are insured.

Besides the massive damage to Sky Manor's hangar, Simpson estimates the value of the three destroyed planes at about $330,000. "That's why we live in a small house and drive really beat-up vehicles," he said, a spark of humor showing through his sadness.

The stunt plane, a Pitts Model 12, was the product of 2,000 hours of labor, completed two years ago. His website, acronut.com, shows pictures of him and the red plane on the ground and in the air. His performance, which was most-recently presented at the Duluth (Minn.) Airshow in September, is described as "an exciting, full-throttle, high-energy, smoking, tumbling biplane routine... There is just something about a two-winged beast that everyone seems to enjoy."

One of the friends who was picking through the rubble with him called the biplane "Kendal's dream." Although Simpson would only give a "maybe" about starting over, his friend, who had helped him build the plane, predicted, "He'll have another one."

Story, photos and comments:   http://www.nj.com




No comments:

Post a Comment