Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Hangar 133 blows its lid; gets new one

by Monica Mendoza

21st Space Wing public affairs office

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Hangar 133 on the flightline is expected to have its new roof completed by June 30.

This time the hangar’s rooftop will be fortified with an extra layer of wood and a rubber cover in hopes that it won’t blow its lid again, should scolding winds race through Peterson AFB as they did on May 25. The wind blasts caused $140,000 worth of damage to the hangar and damaged two Aero Club airplanes; one is expected to be a total loss.

On that day, there were wind gusts of up to 60 mph and the National Weather Service had issued a high wind warning.

Hangar 133’s 15-year-old roof peeled back and flew off just before 12:30 p.m. Some of the ripped pieces of insulation, boards and tar landed on two airplanes tied down at the hangar’s lot. The building was evacuated, as were other nearby buildings, and the rest of the base was directed to hunker down because of reported flying debris.

By 2 p.m. the wind had died down and people were allowed to retrieve their cars from around the evacuated buildings. By then, the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron was assessing the damage. Within two days they had a temporary roof on the hangar.

“Fifty-percent of the roof (on hangar 133) had blown off,” said Phil Algien, 21st CES SABER project manager who is overseeing the repair work. “We’ve had minor damage – pulled off gutters, things like that — in the past due to wind, but never to this extent.”

Bob Jerman, Aero Club chief flight instructor, said the roof debris smacked the nose of the Cessna 172 and broke its spine. The engine mounts were bent, one of the wings was severely damaged and the firewalls buckled. A refurbishing company has made a bid, but Mr. Jerman said it might cost more to repair than the plane’s current value of $83,000 and it could be deemed a total loss by the insurance company. It will be a big loss for the club, Mr. Jerman said. The Cessna 172 was its newest plane used in training, purchased in 2000 by the 21st Force Support Squadron.

A second plane, a Cessna T-41, was also hit by the roof debris and suffered broken struts and wing damage. The plane has been repaired and Mr. Jerman has already flown it.

Even as the construction of the hangar roof has gone on, the club is still operating and offering its pilot training lessons, Mr. Jerman said.

“We will lose revenue on that (Cessna 172) aircraft,” Mr. Jerman said, but the club is still open providing flight services for its customers.

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