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Memphis Chapter Hangar Endures Flood, Windstorm

May floodwaters receded, but high winds this week destroyed the Chapter 182 hangar door.

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June 16, 2011 — Members of EAA Chapter 182 and others based at DeWitt-Spain Airport (M01) in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, have had to endure more than their share of hardships this season. In May, the Mississippi River, which borders the downtown airport, poured through a levee, which had been fortified expressly to prevent floodwaters from engulfing the airport. Parts of M01 were underwater for three weeks.

This past Monday, with floodwaters receded and cleanup efforts well underway, strong winds battered the area and winds heavily damaged the chapter’s hangar door. Members are being called to the airport this weekend to assess the damage.

“The levee would have held had a construction company been informed of a 20-inch water main they were driving across with equipment,” chapter member Richard Hutson, EAA 732951, wrote in an e-mail. “Once the pipe burst, Mother Nature did the rest. Hangars on the south end had water levels above the walk-in doors.”

Chapter President Eddie Brewer put out the call via e-mail this week for EAA members to come on Saturday. “Our door took quite a hit from the sudden storms that came through today (Monday, June 13). It appears that the airport will reopen this summer. Therefore we need to roll up our sleeves and get this place cleaned up!”

The Memphis Shelby County Airport Association website contains the message, “Airport is temporarily closed until further notice due to flooding,” but the hope is that it will reopen for operations on a limited basis as soon as July. Full recovery could take months, however.

On Saturday the plan is for chapter members and others to lower the damaged door and assess damage and repairs. Unsalvageable items will be removed and clean up of residue left behind by the high water will begin. In the photos taken, floodwater lines can clearly be seen on the hangar walls.

“I recommend that boots, gloves, and safety glasses be worn as well as possibly a respirator if you are susceptible to dust,” Brewer cautioned. “Push brooms and scoops if you have them would be appreciated.

“We can make a big dent in the cleanup this Saturday if we can get a good number of volunteers. So, come on out and help put your hanger back together.”

DeWitt-Spain Airport is the city's busiest GA airport. Water levels on the Mississippi were at their highest since 1937, bringing about widespread backwater flooding.


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