Airports across South Florida were damaged when Hurricane Wilma came ashore in late October.
As this issue was going to press, damage reports were still coming in.
At Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP) single and twin engine aircraft that had been torn from their tie-down areas littered the ramp like broken toys.
“We have about 15 of them that were dragged across the ramp,” said airport manager Steven Rocco. “The owners are out here today assessing the damage.
“Also between eight and 12 of the T-hangar units have been severely damaged. And one of the businesses on the field, Anthony Aviation, suffered extensive damage.”
Attempts to reach Anthony Aviation were unsuccessful. Telephone service, especially cell phone reception, was spotty in the days following the storm because many cell phone towers were blown down by the hurricane-force winds. Those that remained were overloaded with traffic.
Rocco noted that the airport’s tower is open and the field is in operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in accordance with a curfew set by authorities as the clean up continues.
“There was no one here when the storm came through, so thankfully there were no injuries that I am aware of,” he noted. “We are in damage assessment and clean-up mode.”
Meanwhile at Fort Myers Page Field (FMY), damage consisted of a few hangar doors being ripped off and a few small airplanes making unauthorized flights when their tie-down ropes broke.
“We had two single engine aircraft flip over. One of them went over a row of cars and is now sitting with its tail on a fence,” said Coleen Baker, senior manager of general aviation at the airport. “We didn’t have any injuries. We were lucky, our damage was not too bad. We never had to close the airport.”
The same cannot be said for the larger airports such as Miami International (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL), which were shut down for several days after the storm.
Wilma forced organizers to postpone the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, planned for Oct. 26-28 at Sebring Regional Airport in Florida. New dates for the Expo are Jan. 12-15, 2006.