It was an unexpected flight for a World War II era plane in Pasco County.

  • WWII plane sent into air by wind gust
  • Plane, built in 1942, suffered damage to tail
  • Museum officials working to secure it

An Aug. 8 storm somehow lifted the historical plane into the air at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport and sent it crashing down.

The plane turned over 180 degrees in the air and flew over a fence. It was a shock to Cliff Moffett, the plane's caretaker and president of the Zephyrhills Military Museum.

"Oh, when I got that phone call and they said your plane is on top of the fence, I said you've got to be kidding me," Moffett said.

He said the plane was tied down but that a wind gust ripped it up and had it fly about 15 feet.

The plane sustained damage to the tail after landing on the fence.

Residents who live nearby came out to help clean up.

"I couldn't believe how many people that night and the next day, stopping by to see what the damage was," Moffett said. "Because a lot of people in the area know the plane and they feel it's theirs, and it is. It's the people's plane."

The plane is a C-52-D built in 1942 and was used for training. It had been on the ground for decades.

"It's a huge aircraft," Moffett said. "What I've got to say is, everyone told us this plane would never fly, but she showed us she can."

Museum officials are working on getting the plane tied down more securely.