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Two flight museums out nearly $100,000 after storms damage historic planes dating back to Korean War

Surveillance footage from the Fort Worth Aviation Museum shows 75 mph winds knocking over helicopters 'like they were toys.'

FORT WORTH, Texas — Two aviation museums in North Texas are now tasked with raising some serious money after two rounds of storms damaged a number of historic planes that date back as early as the 1950s. 


On Father's Day, Tarrant County saw a lot of storm damage, and most of it was due to straight-line winds. 

Cameras at the Fort Worth Aviation Museum caught 75 mph winds knocking over its Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopter and an AH1 Cobra gunship. 

"The winds knocked them over like they were toys," said Jim Hodgson, director of the museum. 

"It was really a kick in the teeth," he said.

Some scuffs were found on the Cobra, which the museum said was likely flown during Vietnam, but the frame of the Kiowa was bent and the chopper no longer sits level. 

The museum, which sees about 10,000 visitors a year, will now have to fully replace the frame and do a massive swap of parts.

And that process isn't cheap. 

Hodgson said that it will likely cost $21,000 to fully repair and replace the helicopter, which was flown in the Vietnam War and Desert Storm.

What hurts the museum the most? The Kiowa is its showpiece. 

It travels to schools and events in Tarrant County, allowing students and kids to climb in and see what it's like to fly. 

Hodgson estimates it was seen by 250,000 people in the last six years. 

The museum's Cessna O1 Birddog, which is an observation aircraft built for the Korean War, was also damaged during the storm. 

It was in a tarped hangar and was pushed into an adjacent RV by winds, damaging the fuselage and wings. 

Hodgson said that it's the only aircraft the museum owns that flies, and that the damages will likely keep it sidelined for any upcoming air shows. 

He added that to get it in flying shape again, it would likely cost $15,000.

Five other planes at the museum saw minimal damage and some buildings on the property did too, but the total cost of repairs is pretty astonishing. 

"It all comes out to about $43,000," Hodgson said. 


The Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas is staring down a pretty big repair bill too.

The storms on June 9 pulled siding off the museum's hangar and that siding landed on a T-33 Shooting Star. 

The plane was used to train pilots dating back to the Korean War and is on loan to the museum from the U.S. Air Force. 

The siding left a number of holes and gashes on the aircraft, nothing too major, but museum president and CEO Cheryl Sutterfield-Jones said it will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix. 

"We were fortunate that it wasn't any worse," Sutterfield-Jones said. 

"It's a vintage aircraft and it very critical to our collection." 

The museum also had to repair the siding of its hangar and was without power for a week. 

That meant it had to cancel summer camps and daily admissions. 

So, pile on an additional $25,000 loss in revenue for the week. 

"We're a small lean machine, so a hit of $25,000 is significant," Sutterfield-Jones said. 


Both museums are dedicated to restoring all of the damaged aircraft and are now raising funds to do so. 

But they're relying on the public to answer the call, a call to restore pieces of history.

"These are wounded warriors, just like the men that served," Hodgson said. 

"They all have their own story." 

To help the Frontiers of Flight Museum, head to their website and click "donate."

To help the Fort Worth Aviation Museum, head to their GoFundMe

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