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Jim Gardner Left Fuming After Hail Busts Out Sky News 9 Windshield…

The storms badly damaged the Griffin Media chopper fleet, knocking out the News 9 and News on 6 helicopters!

9:16 AM EDT on April 20, 2023

Central Oklahoma dealt with its first batch of spring severe weather last night as a surprise flurry of severe storms roared through the metro, delivering heavy rain, massive hail, and powerful twisters through the various parts of the metro. 

As always, our Severe Weather Media was on top of things, tracking the storms and delivering wall-to-wall coverage to help keep Oklahomans safe and advertisers happy. For example, News 9’s Jim Gardner was on the scene and on the story in Bob Mills SkyNews Ranger 9, delivering these tornadic chopper shots:

Sadly, Jim’s coverage came with a heavy cost. Apparently, he piloted Bob Mills SkyNews Ranger 9 a bit too close to the storms and the chopper's windshield was busted out by heavy hail! 

Not surprisingly, Jim wasn’t happy about flying a helicopter without a windshield. Check out this audio and video that was apparently captured on the Sky News 9 Cam that Channel 9 streams on its website: 

Yikes! I don’t think anyone wants to fly – or even drive – to Pauls Valley without a windshield, but I haven’t heard Jim Gardner that upset since he was covering the 2020 protests in downtown Oklahoma City! I’m surprised he didn’t accuse the hail stones of being secret ANTIFA agents who were up to no good.  

While Jim was flying his chopper to Pauls Valley to meet Greg, the other Griffin Media helicopter – Tulsa’s Sky News 6 – was grounded in a hangar in Shawnee. Naturally, that hanger was hit by one of last night's tornados, totaling the chopper:

I hope News 9 has good insurance for their helicopters and, like most metro homeowners, is ready for a big increase in premiums. 

For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time an Oklahoma news helicopter has been damaged by Oklahoma severe weather. 

Back in 2012, old Bob Moore Chopper 4 was totaled in a hailstorm when it returned to the station to refuel and take cover form an incoming storm, only to find the hangar filled with vehicles belonging to KFOR employees who parked inside to keep their cars safe from hail damage!

With no time to clear out the hangar, the chopper had to park on the KFOR lawn and was barraged by the storm.

Anyway, although it was a rough night for Jim Gardner and especially our neighbors hit by tornados, at least there was some happiness in the air...

If you want to help with tornado relief efforts, consider a donation to the Red Cross

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