SNF Storm Damaged Eclipse, Piper Display Aircraft
An Eclipse 500 on display was among more than 60 parked aircraft damaged or destroyed when a violent storm cell tore a swath through central Florida and hit Lakeland Regional Airport during the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In about noon on March 31, scattering furniture, upending tents and ripping aircraft from their tiedowns. The Eclipse was damaged by an experimental aircraft that was blown into it. The twinjet was temporarily repaired on site and flown back to Eclipse’s headquarters in Albuquerque after the show. Three of Piper Aircraft’s display aircraft were also damaged by experimental aircraft that blew into them during the storm. Damage to the company’s Archer and Seneca was severe enough that they had be trucked back to Piper’s Vero Beach, Fla. headquarters, while a dent in the Meridian’s horizontal tail was fixed on site, allowing that airplane to be flown home.