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Maj Millard

A very lucky Savannah....and an unlucky Karatoo.....Cyclone Yasi damage.

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I have been getting some imput from various areas on damage sustained to aircraft during Cyclone Yasi, up here in the North.


I haven't covered all areas, so there could well be a lot more damaged aircraft out there.


I recently visited Abergowrie airport in the Ingham Valley North of Townsville. Abergowrie is just inland from the coastal township of Cardwell which was virtually distroyed by Yasi. There was also a lot of structure damage in the small town of Abergowrie, and the photos below show one very lucky escape, and a karatoo which wasn't so lucky.


There were three hangars at Abergowrie, side by side, which had been there for some time. The two outer hangars were destroyed after loosing their roofs, and the center hangar housing the Savannah substained only minor damage. The long grass strip is often used by ag planes from Ingham, and the local sport pilots.


One destroyed hangar was empty, the aircraft normally occupying it sold a short time before (Eipper MX).


The second hangar destroyed housed Karatoo 19-3241, which was advertised for sale recently in the RAAus magazine (prior to damage). After the roof departed, the aircraft tie-down steel pegs were ripped from the ground, and the aircraft deposited upside down on one of the destroyed walls.


The force of the cyclone estimated to be Cat 4 in this area, bent the steel wall, and roof supports over like they were plastic. The Karatoo showed just how strong it is with most damage suffered by the wings, and the fuselage showing only minor damage. One wing will need a new main spar, but both are rebuildable by someone with the skills.


The Savvy in the center hangar was completely covered in leaf litter and debris, which took the owner a full day to clean off, but was otherwise undamaged.


The Savvy was fully insured, the Karatoo had none. The Karatoo is still for sale at a reduced price to that advertised in the Magazine, for someone looking for a good rebuild project.


There was also a hangar collapse at Townsvilles' Donnington Airfield which damaged both Raa and GA aircraft, including one belonging to a forum member. Nearby Stark Field (Ace base), appears to have suffered little damage, and was limited to the instructors class room loosing it's roof.


The photos speak for themselves................................................................Maj...024_cool.gif.7a88a3168ebd868f5549631161e2b369.gif





























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I was only just talking to the owner of the Karatoo yesterday when I found out it had been damaged, Still interested though





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A further update on this aircraft. The aircraft is now back on its wheels, and the owner has run the engine a couple of times after flushing the old oil out, and putting in new oil . The aircraft and engine were upside down for about two weeks after Cyclone Yasi destroyed it's hangar. Proper lifting gear was required to right the aircraft without further damage, and heavy equipment couldn't get into the site due to the heavily rain-soaked area, and airstrip. They measure rain up here in meters !.


The battery by the way which was a sealed gel cell still works perfectly, after an extended time hanging upside down.


The Subaru EA81 fired up first time, and runs as smooth as it always did.


Even in it's post-cyclone damaged state, the owner has said he could have easily sold the aircraft at least twice.


A gentleman from the Grafton area has purchased it, and has arranged for repairs to the damaged wings. We look foward to the aircraft flying once again, after a through post-damage total inspection, and repair as required .....................................................................Maj...



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Maj, Do you know how the guys at Innisfail got on, especially Ron Watson. Ron has a Jabiru UL/D which I learnt to fly in, as have many others. Great little aircraft that seems to have found the sweet spot of having the right engine (2.2 Jab) and wing combination (long wings - narrow fuselage).


Cheers, Mathew



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Mathew, Can't say I've heard much from the Innisfail area, which may be a case of 'no news is good news' ?.....They did get hit pretty bad at the airport during Larry a couple of years ago, and there was hangar and aircraft damage then. They probabily got sorted out after that one.


I did hear of a hangar being destroyed at Tully airport. Innisfail was on the Northeren side of the eye this time, with more wind force South of the eye..............................................................................................Cheers Maj...



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