Devastating Windstorm Leaves The Skagit Regional Airport in Pieces

Brandon Holdeman

A major windstorm struck Skagit Regional Airport on January 6. The windstorm blew the tops of hangars off and pushed doors in. The Port of Skagit said it would be more reasonable to demolish the old buildings and allow aircraft owners to build their own hangers rather than to have the airport build new hangars for everyone to rent.
According to Burlington Chamber of Commerce, “After consulting with structural engineers, insurance adjusters, and legal counsel, the commission determined that all five T-hangar buildings are beyond repair. A structural engineering inspection revealed serious damage to all five buildings, including framing damage and racking of the structures, and engineers determined the hangars are no longer fit for occupancy.”
The problem with having the aircraft owners having to build their own hangars is that they have to schedule the build and could spend more money rather than just renting a hangar. This could drive away business for mechanics and other vendors that keep the airport alive.
Although, if they build their own hangars, they get to design it the way they want to fit their needs with things like heated floors, windows, improved ceiling lights, and the area they want their hangar to be.
“From what I’ve seen I bet that at least half of the hangars are out of commission and some of the planes got damaged from the doors folding in. We have already had a couple come in for us to examine their plane for the insurance company,” Christina Pinasco said.
There are four businesses at Skagit Airport, two of which are maintenance businesses, Vertex Aviation and Corporate Air Center. The other two are Heritage Flight Museum and Flyers Restaurant. Corporate Air Center works mostly on jets and helicopters, their customers mainly fly in from other parts of the state. Vertex works on single engine, piston-powered planes. Their customers have rented T-hangers at the airport and without having their customers parked here, it could impact the business drastically.
Although, Vertex has been doing very well in the past years with new customers coming in and old customers bringing in new projects, the demolishment of the T-hangars would still hurt the company if their customers go to a different airport and find closer mechanics there.
“This windstorm has and will drastically change the way the airport functions, way it was first designed and built. Millions of dollars of hangars are soon to be built and businesses will either skyrocket or fall-through all because of this little windstorm,” Said Lin Holdeman.

Brandon Holdeman
The remains of the Skagit Regional Airport after a devastating windstorm.