"Freak, cyclonic gust of wind" blew plane over at Blackpool Airport

A small plane used for flight training was damaged after it was flipped upside down by a gust of wind at Blackpool Airport.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 2:46 pm

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee reportedly blew over whilst parked on the tarmac at around 11am on Friday (October 29).

Pictures by aviation photographer Paul Webster show the light aircraft on its roof next to a rain soaked runway following the freakishly strong blast of wind.

The airport's fire and rescue crew can be seen attending to the plane just moments after it was suddenly whisked off the ground and dumped upside down.

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The Piper PA-28 Cherokee reportedly blew over whilst parked on the tarmac at Blackpool Airport at around 11am on Friday (October 29). Pic credit: Paul Webster

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A Blackpool Airport spokesman said: "We can confirm that it was a freak, cyclonic gust of wind that blew the light aircraft over.

"The aircraft was about to be under tow on the ground and unoccupied at the time.

"There was some light damage to the plane and it was recovered to the hangar for assessment.

Airport emergency response crews attend to the small aircraft which reportedly blew over in strong winds on Friday (October 29). Pic credit: Paul Webster

"One of the team fortunately sustained only a minor injury, and was fully assessed at hospital, quickly released and is now, we are pleased to say, fully recovered and back supporting the rest of the team at the Airport.”

According to its registration (G-FMAM), the plane is owned by ATC Aviation, based in Hangar 3, which provides training for those seeking their PPL (Private Pilots Licence).

Friday's freak incident is the first airport emergency the Council has had to deal with since taking over the day-to-day running of the site in Squires Gate Lane.

Blackpool Council bought the airport from previous owners Balfour Beatty for £4.25 million in September 2017, but its operating licences were only officially transferred from the Civil Aviation Authority to the Council last week.

The daily running of operations at Blackpool Airport has been taken in-house by Blackpool Council

You can read more about the Council's acquisition of the airport and what it means for its future in our report here.

Fatal crash in 2007

On February 3, 2007, the same model - a Piper PA-28 Cherokee - was flying towards Blackpool Airport when it crashed on the Fylde Coast.

The flight had originated from Exeter Airport and the pilot was attempting to land in thick fog.

But he failed to locate the airport and continued several miles north before losing altitude and crashing in shallow water between Central and South Piers.

Both occupants were sadly killed.

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