Saturday, April 24, 2021

When A Mini Cyclone Crashed A Two Planes In Selinsgrove

On Sunday May 18 1947, a Brunner-Winkle Bird Biplane  & a Piper Cub J3 were smashed by a mini cyclone at the Selinsgrove Airport.

"Storm Hits Airport Torn from Moorings Two Ships Lifted 50 Feet in Air by High Winds Sunday Damage of more than $2,500 was caused late Sunday afternoon at the Selinsgrove Airport by winds nearing cyclonic velocity. A Piper Cub plane owned by the Selinsgrove Aviation Corporation was smashed and the wings of a Bird biplane owned by Bernard C. Corbin, of R. R., Sunbury; were .demolished. 

Piper Cub J3 

The fury of the storm seemed to be concentrated in a quarter mile area while passing over the airport. Immediately after the strong winds began to blow, airport officials ordered all planes grounded and placed in hangars. However, before the operation could be completed, the velocity of the winds had Increased to such an extent that the task was impossible. The planes remaining outside the hangars were tied down with heavy ropes fastened to concrete anchors' buried in the ground. No sooner had the planes been anchored than the storm struck in its full fury. Seeming to center over the Cub and the Bird biplane, it broke the anchor ropes, lifted both planes into the air and then plunged them to the ground. Officials estimated that the two damaged craft were lifted to an altitude of 50 feet. 

The Piper Cub was a total wreck with an estimated loss of $2,000. 

 Brunner-Winkle Bird Biplane

The Bird biplane was damaged to the extent of $500. Several other planes were tipped on their noses, but no serious damage resulted. In one case, a Stearman biplane was moved 50 feet from its position! on the field and tilted on its nose. The plane apparently was carried several inches off the ground, as no tracks were made by the landing gear. 

At the height of the storm, the Selinsgrove Airport sign located just north of the field along the highway was ripped from the two large supporting posts and was carried for more than 100 yards in a diagonal direction across the highway and deposited just off the highway at the site of the new Kepler garage. The storm, accompanied by torrents of rain, continued' east along Penn's Creek, uprooting trees and carrying them for many feet. At the Charles Conrad home, the wind forced a door open and slammed double glass doors in the dining room shut. As Mr. Conrad opened the doors, the wind roared thru and shattered windows on the opposite side of the room. The violence of the storm center spent itself almost as quickly as it began.

Stories & History From Selinsgrove, Pa

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