Strong Winds Ground Planes In Council Bluffs

By: Melina Matthes

COUNCIL BLUFFS (kptm) - While all of us were fighting against the wind gusts Thursday, some say it wasn't even worth battling.

Fox 42 News spoke with a flight instructor who said training someone on a single engine aircraft is far too risky on a day like Thursday.

While the majority of the commercial flights at Omaha's Eppley airfield have taken off and landed safely, many were grounded due to the high winds.

One pilot said the planes are heavy enough and powerful enough to fly in the windy conditions, however he said smaller planes have to be grounded and he said that means the pilots stay inside. "As you can see it's pretty windy out today and we don't have any flight operations going on," Flight Instructor, Jerome Howard said.

The runway at Council Bluffs airport is like a ghost town. The only movement, the wind sock blowing on the tarmac.

That's because flight instructor Jerome Howard said the cross wind is too dangerous for flying. He said it could cause a pilot to lose control. "The way the wind is blowing now you can see it's pretty gusty. You don't know when those gusts are going to happen. You don't know where it's going to come from."

He said even the snow plays a factor. "Light snow like this, you can kind of see on the ramp there its kind of blowing around now. They predicted we were going to get some light snow today; it's not going to last for very long. Conditions like this we just sit and wait it out."

So instead the crew is spending their day inside working on the planes. "It's about safety. You don't want to go out in conditions like this and get yourself in a situation that you may damage the aircraft."

The pilot said days like Thursday are good because he gets to catch up on busy work, however he hopes to be back up in the air Friday.

Officials at Eppley airfield say 18 flights on United were canceled Thursday afternoon mostly out of Chicago, Houston and Denver.

The remaining flights still arriving this evening are all scheduled to land.

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