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Wed, May 12, 2010

Flooding Inundates Cornelia Fort Air Park Near Nashville

500 Year Flood Leaves Airplanes, Hangars Awash

Record rainfalls in the central part of the U.S. pushed the Cumberland River out of its banks last week, which inundated the Cornelia Fort Air Park (M88), a GA airport just across the river from Opryland.

 

"This is the highest the water has ever been here since the airport started in the 1940's," Colemill Enterprises aircraft mechanic Jerry Shephard told The Tennesseean. "We have about 20 airplanes under water." Colemill Enterprises operates the airport.

 

Along with the airplanes, a parts warehouse containing more than $1 million in inventory was crushed by a landslide from a hill behind the airport. "The water rose so quickly that it was already over the runway before anyone knew they had to get the airplanes out," Shephard said. He said even some of the airplanes that they did managed to get to higher ground floated away.

Shephard said the least damaged airplane would probably be able to fly again, but not until everything was dried out and checked out. The twin was parked on a road leading out of the airport just short of a chain-link fence. Some thought it might escape damage, but water crept into the cabin as the river crested a week ago Monday.

Shephard told the paper it could be months before operations return to normal. The airport has been on the market for some time due to financial difficulties related to the weak economy. Total damage to the airpark has been estimated at $2 billion.

FMI: www.colemill.com

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