Like many drivers across the city, staff at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope are paying the price for leaving one of their prized rides parked outside during last month's wild summer storm.
One of the museum's Second World War-era planes, a Douglas DC-3 Dakota, sat on the tarmac during July 19's torrent of bad weather. According to museum spokesman Al Mickeloff, high winds broke the aircraft away from its tethers, and two flaps were damaged by debris.
"When everyone left on Friday, there were no tornado warnings out," said Mickeloff. "This one just happened to be sitting outside and we assumed everything would be okay."
The museum occasionally leaves its some of its planes outside for short periods of time during the summer, but normally brings them into the hangar before bad weather rolls in, he explained. Staff consistently monitor weather reports, he added, and pay particular attention to threats of lightning or hail.
But the July storm, which occurred on a Friday night after a bright and balmy afternoon, "caught us off guard," he admitted.
"Are we blaming The Weather Network for this one? No, don't get me wrong. But if we'd have known the bad weather was coming, we would have had it inside."
Mickeloff downplayed the damage to the DC-3, which is part of the museum's roster of airworthy planes. Crews are going to replace the affected parts, with the total repair bill expected to come out to about $5,000, he said.
"This would be a fender bender for you car, like one you'd get if you're backing out in a parking lot."
Won't be fixed right away
The DC-3, Mickeloff said, won't be fixed right away because it isn't scheduled to fly in the fall. Maintenance crews will prioritize repairs and tune-ups for planes that have "commitments" over the next few months. He expects for the DC-3 to be flight-ready by the spring.
Developed by the American aviation giant Douglas, the DC-3 Dakota (also known as the C-47) was responsible for carrying personnel and supplies and even dropped paratroopers for the Allies during the Second World War. Around 13,000 were constructed.
While many DC-3 Dakotas were used for military purposes for decades, thousands became commercial airliners after the end of the war.
July's summer storm caused chaos across Hamilton and in other regions of southern Ontario. High winds and lightning downed branches and toppled trees, which in turn tore down power lines and battered cars and houses on the way to the ground.
The morning after the storm, tens of thousand of the city's residents woke up without power in their homes. Many didn't see service restored until the end of the weekend.