Friday, July 21, 2017

Prairie du Chien Municipal Airport (KPDC), Crawford County, Wisconsin

When storms rolled through Prairie du Chien, they ripped through the town’s airport. Wind took down airplane hangars and destroyed a piece of history.

Residents were cleaning up the damage Thursday from the fierce storm that barreled through the small town about 100 miles west of Madison the night before.

“Whole bunch of wind was crashing. It was green outside. It was very scary,” Laney Gardner, who lives nearby, said.

The storm threw 2x4s through car windshields, ripped roofs off of buildings, and tore airplane hangars to shreds. But the biggest loss might be a 1942 L3 Defender, an aircraft flown in WWII. It was destroyed when one of those hangars came crashing down.

“The hangar is totally destroyed. There’s just a slab of concrete,” Frank Weeks, an aircraft owner, said. “[The aircraft] has been great to have. Every year, we’ve annualed it and it’s primarily used to give rides to usually veterans who were in the Second War.”

Weeks bought the plane for $750 over 50 years ago, a piece of history he hoped to keep in his family for generations.

“It’s very sad to us. It’s worse than losing your dog,” he said.

The aircraft has stood the test of time.

“Prior to the second World War, the small airplanes that were made were converted to be military planes and each one was modified for its job,” Weeks said. “Primarily, it was supposed to be for artillery spotting so they could see where the shells were landing.”

Weeks says the plane has been through a lot of storms and he’s never worried about it being in the hangar. When he saw the damage he was devastated.

“It’s really sad to lose it because it’s not replaceable. It’s very unique,” Weeks said.

He’s now looking into whether the L3 Defender can be fixed and how much it would cost to restore it.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- All hangars have been damaged at Prairie du Chien Municipal Airport due to Wednesday nights storms.

Airport manager Richard Yeoman said no planes were flipped over in the storms, however a few do have damage.

The airport tells TV9 two hangars are destroyed and more than two others have damage with their doors.

Tom Schaumburg, whose hangars roof was blown apart said he is going to tear it down and not rebuild. Luckily for Schaumburg, his airplane is in Florida and was not harmed due to the storms.

The airport says there are no delays or cancellations today because of the storms.

Yeoman said Governor Scott Walker will be in town tomorrow to look at the damage.

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