Crew moves plane after wind throws it on top of cars

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SAN DIEGO – Strong winds from Tuesday’s storm caused small planes at Montgomery Field to tumble, landing upside down, sideways, even on top of cars.

The storm damaged at least six planes, one hangar and cars parked in the lot. Insurance companies were already hashing out who will pay for what.

The early estimates for damage caused by Tuesday's storm was between $700,000 and $900,000, according to GIBBS Flying Service, Inc. General Manager Henry Sickels.

Insurance will cover the costs associated with damage, but exact which insurance company will pay for the plane that landed on the two cars was not immediately known.

"I have no idea," Sickels said. "The Prius owners call their insurance company, the aircraft owner calls his insurance company.  The two insurance companies talk to each other and they figure out who is paying what."

Sickels and others keep referring to the term "Act of God," in other words, they're not worried something like this is going to happen again anytime soon and will make no changes to the ways the secure small planes.

"It's a balance between holding the airplane in place and damaging the airplane in place. If you tie down the plane too strong, it's going to damage the airplane," Sickels said.

That balancing act was put to the test Tuesday when wind speeds became high enough to move some aircraft.

Nick Elkus has his student pilot's license and is working toward becoming a commercial pilot. He has never seen anything like this kind of damage in the San Diego area

"If you've got that amount of wind going under the wings of the plane, the plane's going to fly whether there's a pilot in it or not," said Elkus.

Clean up crews started working at 6 a.m. Wednesday and their work was far from over by the end of the day.

“We're assessing the damages of all the planes on the GIBBS Flying Services ramp, noting any damage to the 300 airplanes on the ramp," Sickels said.

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