Strong winds flip over planes at Montgomery Field - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Strong winds flip over planes at Montgomery Field

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    Wednesday, September 17 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-09-17 12:58:47 GMT
    A stubborn monsoonal heat wave kept the San Diego area roasting again Tuesday and added to the misery by generating lightning, heavy rain, hail and stiff winds that sent trees and power lines crashing down onto roads and buildings. 
    A stubborn monsoonal heat wave kept the San Diego area roasting again Tuesday and added to the misery by generating lightning, heavy rain, hail and stiff winds that sent trees and power lines crashing down onto roads and buildings. 

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The storm was so powerful that it blew small planes around at Montgomery Field. A Cessna flew over the fence and crashed into cars. The propeller crushed the windshield.

One plane flipped over, another plane was on top of two cars, and a plane on its nose. Four planes crunched by a hangar that tore off its moorings. It's a day that not even a veteran San Diego firefighter could have imagined.

“I've never seen an event like this in my 28 years on the SDFD,” said Rick Ballard the SDFR Battalion Chief.

A day where straight line winds roared across San Diego, completely damaging at least eight planes at Montgomery Field.

“A big, honking thunderstorm. The biggest I've ever seen in San Diego,” added Henry Suckels with GM Gibbs Flying Service.

Firefighters say 30 gallons of fuel started leaking from four planes.

“We had to stop the fuel leak. So we had to make sure it did not get in the storm drains, get washed down in the bay or ocean,” Ballard explained.

There are more than a dozen planes with minor cracks and bumps and the National Weather Service says the damage was caused by straight line winds with gusts up to 54 miles per hour.

“Even though all the airplanes were tied down with chains, they are designed to hold it up to 70 mile an hour winds,” added Suckels.

The wind pulled one Cessna off its chains.

While these planes are expensive, the pilots say planes are just a machine.

“The bottom line is metal is replaceable, airplanes are replaceable. People are not,” said Phil Thalheimer, the owner of a plane that flipped over.

And Michael Evans is glad he wasn't plane watching from his car, because a plane crashed right into it.

“I'm really happy I wasn't in it. I'm glad I am alive,” he said.

Only a few of the planes were put back on the ground Tuesday night. The rest will be taken care of Wednesday.

The cost of damage at the airport has yet to be determined.

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