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Tiny Tallahassee twister tosses twinTiny Tallahassee twister tosses twin

EF0 flips Piper Seminole, damages other aircraft on ground

There were no injuries or loss of life reported at Tallahassee International Airport January 27 in the wake of a tornado that struck just before noon and flipped over an ATP Flight School Piper Seminole that was parked on the ramp. The airport in Florida’s capital was briefly closed, but most aircraft and structures, other than one hangar, were spared significant damage. The county emergency manager told the city newspaper, “we may have dodged a bullet.”

A Piper Seminole was flipped over by the January 27 tornado at Tallahassee International Airport. Photo courtesy of the City of Tallahassee via Twitter.

The sentiment expressed by Kevin Peters, director of Leon County Emergency Management, to the Tallahassee Democrat may not have been universally felt, though Airport Director David Pollard told the newspaper that damage to the airport overall was minimal. The airport was closed for a couple of hours after the twister’s 11:45 a.m. touchdown while damage was assessed, but one runway was back in service by midafternoon. “Our airfield looks like it’s in pretty good shape,” Pollard told the newspaper.

Two people were killed and another injured in a car crash on Interstate 10 that officials said was related to weather, though it was unclear if the tornado was a factor.

A hangar at Tallahassee International Airport was damaged by the January 27 tornado. Photo courtesy of the City of Tallahassee via Twitter.

The National Weather Service in Tallahassee confirmed the EF0 tornado packed winds up to 85 mph. The damage was mainly confined to airport property, though a dugout at a nearby high school baseball field was damaged, along with “a barn and a couple of sheds,” the newspaper reported. While the Seminole was the only aircraft flipped by the tornado, other parked aircraft were moved, including at least two large commercial jets. Trees just outside of the terminal were toppled, at least one of which fell on a parked car. Passengers and staff sheltered in stairwells inside the airport as the storm approached.

ATP Flight School trains pilots for airline careers at seven locations around Florida (and 53 nationwide), though Tallahassee is not one of them. A spokesman told AOPA via email that he was still gathering information about whether the pilot(s) of the tempest-tossed twin had been stranded, or if they had returned by other means to their home base.

An EF0 tornado packing winds up to 85 mph touched down January 27 at Tallahassee International Airport. Photo courtesy of FL Aviation Center.
Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Editor-Web Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.
Topics: Flight School, Airport

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