Hangar Collapse - January 2010

On the 12th of January the green hangar formerly known as the black hangar at Easterton airfield collapsed  under the weight of snow on the roof. In the hangar at the time of the collapse were the Highland Gliding Club K-21, the Fulmar Gliding Club Grob Astir, a privately owned Grob Acro, a privately owned Bocian and a privately owned K-6cr. The building itself is a total loss but is covered by insurance. The Bocian was the most badly damaged glider and is without doubt a write-off. The K-21 is also very badly damaged especially the port wing and the fuselage just behind the cockpit, it remains to be seen whether the insurer will have it repaired or not. The Acro also suffered some damage and will have to go to a professional workshop for inspection and repair but unless there's serious hidden damage it shouldn't take too long to fix. The Astir was de-rigged at the time of the roof collapse and appeared to suffer only superficial damage but will still have to be inspected in a professional workshop given the nature of the incident. The K-6cr was also de-rigged and seems to have escaped virtually unscathed being in a position right at the western gable end where the roof remained up.

The biggest loss is without doubt the K-21 (HYJ) which is the main training glider of the Highland Gliding Club. Discussions are already underway to secure the loan of a 2-seater until a replacement for the K-21 can be found or it is repaired and there should be more news on this shortly. The replacement of the hangar is obviously going to take much longer, especially since there would appear to be hundreds of farm buildings in the area that have collapsed in similar circumstances and the services of the builders of this type of building will be much in demand.

We anticipate that by the time the snow clears and the runway has dried out a bit we should be able to have an almost normal operation. The 2 to 3 weeks prior to the roof collapse saw almost unprecedented snowfall in the area with around 2 feet (60 centimetres) lying on the airfield for most of that time. As of the 14th January a thaw was well underway and by the 18th large patches of grass were visible for about the first time in a month. Fortunately there was nobody at the club at the time of the collapse and our other hangar and clubhouse have only suffered some damage to the guttering.

The Astir, K-6 and Acro were removed from the remains of the building by club members who volunteered to do it at their at their own risk. A small crew managed to walk on to the site on the 17th of January and the privately owned Grob Acro was removed. The K-21 and the Bocian remained trapped inside until the 23rd of January when enough snow had melted to allow vehicle access again to the club. A crew was put together and after making safe the east end gable of the hangar the K-21 and the Bocian were removed.

10th March 2010 - The current situation with the gliders involved in the hangar collapse is this. The Acro is away for repair. The Bocian is a write-off. The K-21 was sent for repair but after several weeks of unsuccessful searching for a new wing it looks as though it will also be a write-off. All updates on the club two-seater situation will now be in the club news.

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Highland Gliding Club
Easterton Airfield
United Kingdom

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