CRUSHED: Hangars & Airplanes During Storm In Wheatland Wyoming
A week after the storm and we are still assessing the damage across Wyoming.
One of the small airports in Platte County Wyoming is Phifer Airfield on Antelope Gap Road, east of Wheatland. Platte County has the Wheatland airport along with one in Torrington and Guernsey. They were all shut down in the storm.
The sheer weight of the snow from that last blizzard that blew through punished the area, cost them a hangar, and damaged some aircrafts inside it.
Folks who live in the area called in to report that they actually heard a hangar collapse. Later they reported hearing another go.
According to the PC Record Times: Drifts at the airport were reported in some places to be over seven feet high. If not for a crew of faithful volunteers, the damage would have been even more substantial.
The airport's hangars are privately owned. Those who keep an airplane there take care of the property as their own.
Several planes suffered damage. Unfortunately only two were insured against such an event. Who really thinks their going to lose an airplane like this? Some of the planes were airworthy others were in various states of repair. A few will be considered a total loss.
From what can be assessed in one of the hangars, it seems that a main I-beam could not support the weight of the snow that had gathered on top of it.
Because of all the snow the airport, which is just one paved strip, remained closed from March 14-16th. It was on March 17th that the the first post-storm airplane came in for a landing.
“Before these hangars were destroyed, it was hard in Wheatland to find a place to keep an airplane,” Mount said. “A lot of those hangars have been passed down from generation to generation and some of the people that have inherited them are not flying and so they just use them for storage units.” Dallas Mount, Chairman of the Wheatland Airport Board, said. (PC Record Times).
There are several older hangars that are not being used as hangars. Mr. Mount hopes that maybe some new hangars will be built by private owners once the cleanup is done.