ERAU Up and Running after Christmas Tornado

 - January 16, 2007, 10:17 AM

Spring semester classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) started today despite an F2 tornado that ripped through the campus and destroyed most of the training aircraft on Christmas Day. There were only four people on campus at the time and no injuries were reported, according to a school official. The storm spared the rest of Daytona Beach International Airport, where ERAU is located, but it destroyed 40 of the school’s aircraft and damaged another 10. The campus administration building and a maintenance hangar were also destroyed. A school official said the cleanup progressed rapidly and the entire training fleet was replaced with aircraft of the same or, in many cases, better quality. He added that the tornado actually helped the school transition closer to an all-glass-cockpit fleet faster than it had originally planned. ERAU president Dr. John Johnson estimated the total damage exceeds $50 million.