We live in the mountains and toward the center of a very large island. Consequently we don’t ever deal with typhoons because they are typically forced north or us or dissipate to almost nothing by the time they cross the east side of the island to get to us. You can imagine the shock we felt when we realized that our little town was forecasted in the path of a Super Typhoon that was bigger than anything ever recorded in our part of the World. Scary, right?
As reality hit us, we began to feel very helpless. Not only were we in the middle of an island with nowhere to run, but our airplane sits under a large metal roof with no walls – exposed. The night before the typhoon came, I drove to the hangar and fabricated battens for the flight controls to keep them from blowing in the wind. I tied the plane down the best that I could given what I had to work with at the hangar. We just don’t ever have storms like this so we aren’t equipped to deal with it.
In the morning winds were reported as peaking at 315kph (195mph) as the typhoon hit the east coast of the island. The other pilot, Joel, and I drove to the hangar with one last idea for how we could better secure the plane. We added some extra straps to hold the plane in place and prayed for God to protect His airplane. Now that the plane was tied so securely I was certain it would be beaten to death by flying debris from the storm. We drove home to be with our families and waited for the storm to pass. We figured the eye passed somewhere between our houses and the hangar. It was intense.
When things calmed down a little Joel and I drove back to check on the plane. We could see as we drove to the hangar that the winds were quite strong. Fields were leveled, banana trees snapped in half everywhere and even trees 2-3’ in diameter were broken in half or uprooted. When we pulled up to the plane we found that everything was in tact – even the tin roof on the hangar was undamaged. The plane hadn’t moved even an inch even though it was clear that the wind was blowing directly at the right side of the plane and would have been gusting well over 100mph. The plane was left unscratched. It was encouraging to see first hand and to remember that the wind and the waves still obey their Master.