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Massive rain and strong winds wreaked havoc on Sun ‘N Fun Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The storm passed quickly, but not before causing major damage to aircraft and event exhibits.

“Hail storm disaster…Many planes flipped” was the text message sent by Plane & Pilot editor, Jessica Ambats early today, Thursday. What a disaster nature can make of an airfield of light airplanes in just the span of about 20 minutes of high winds and rain. The editors of Plane & Pilot and the many attendees of Sun ‘N Fun were set to make the most of another spectacular event in Lakeland Florida, when violent weather struck. Some sources say a tornado might have been involved, as evidence by the downed trees and flipped planes. While the show hopes to open tomorrow, Friday, there will be a lot to deal with in terms of standing water and clean up. Many airplanes were mangled or thrown against other planes that held their ground. Many of the damaged experimental aircraft, built by their owners, represent countless hours of individual labor. Still, the weather service is reporting an 80% chance of rain tonight and the possibility of more thunderstorms. Better weather is expected for the remainder of the event. Undoubtedly, planes that our editors intended to fly and photograph will have been casualties of this tragedy.

Visit our facebook album, featuring images from the scene

Click on the thumbnails below to view full-size images

Taken before they shut the doors and the power went out.  There were a few unsettling moments at that point.


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