Although insurance is surely a nice thing to have, no one wants to suffer through the trauma of losing an airplane and cashing the check. But Rich Wellner recently did. A security camera caught the destruction of his Maule in a severe thunderstorm a few weeks ago. A tiedown rope parted and the airplane was upended at Schaumburg, Illinois.
Lessons learned? There’s no easy takeaways on this one. “1) Park against the prevailing wind 2) There is no 2,” he told us. “I was four miles away under partly cloudy skies and I had no idea that the weather was breaking bad so close by. Could spoilers have helped? Maybe. Could other ropes have helped? Maybe. Could I have moved the plane? If I had, it would have been north to Wisconsin and been hit by a different line of weather, so who knows if that would have helped. As you might guess, I’ve replayed things a lot. And talked with a lot of people. Many of which have given me absolutely terrible advice like ‘next time use chains’ or crazy expensive advice like having a hangar at all four of the bases that this plane regularly inhabits. The only thing that I could possibly adopt as a reasonable practice is to point away from the prevailing winds and hope the backside of the storm doesn’t get me anyway.”