Unfortunately Team South Africa's World Jet Master's hopes were dashed yesterday, Sunday 24 July, at approximately 14h00 local time when an incoming rainstorm combined with 80 mph winds struck. The model hangar, an enormous circus–type marquee tent, turned into a large parachutee. The canvas sides and poles flattened our team as well as our tables / airplanes before the tent lifted off and ended up half a mile away! I am not sure of the definition of the storm, hurricane, tornado or tropical storm but have never experienced anything like that.
Most of the team got away some bruises and cuts but Francois, and his girl friend Sarah, was taken to hospital by ambulance with some rather serious injuries. Later last night they were discharged but are rather sore and uncomfortable. Once the tent was gone obviously thousands of liters of water just poured over all the aircraft, equipment and us. Steel trestle tables were lifted by the winds and deposited in the parking lot. Transport boxes and belongings were scattered over the entire field.
In hindsight we can just be very glad that everybody is alive. We were the first team to unpack our aircraft and start practicing, if the tent had been full there would have been major mayhem. Mark Savage's Vampire is completely destroyed and Francois' Hawk also suffered serious damage. Dylan's Vampire suffered less damage but is also unserviceable. Later today we will meet with the organizers and decide what we will do next.
See the video take after the storm.(click on the clip for a larger version).