Wind Farms & Aviation Safety

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13 years 5 months

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Here in the UK our government ministers, and politicians of all parties, whose total knowledge of electrical power generation would probably fit on a pinhead, have decided that we are to have nation-wide eco-friendly power sources. This means that there will be thousands of large wind turbines on land, and hundreds of ‘wind farms' with even bigger wind turbines offshore around the UK. Another favoured idea is that every building in the UK will be covered in solar panels. I am wondering also if any of these people have given a single thought to aviation safety. A ‘Google’ through the UKs websites detailing these things shows that, although shipping safety around off-shore wind farms has been addressed, aviation safety is not even mentioned. Of course, the fact that a bird has been killed by a wind turbine did get a mention! Just imagine you are a GA pilot heading for Britain in poor visibility. Will you fly high enough to avoid our huge wind turbines – up to 70 m (230 ft) high, with 50 m (165 ft) blades, or will you even see them through the murk? As a stranger to these shores, will you be expecting huge structures in the sea taller than the largest ship? And where is the collision avoidance beacon installed on a wind turbine? If it is on top of the tower, that is not the highest point. Each blade will, at some point in the revolution, be higher than the tower. So, should a beacon be fitted on the end of each turbine blade? No doubt the UK CAA and military know of the problems, and aviation charts will highlight the obstructions. But already a number of planes and helicopters entering UK airspace have come to grief approaching high ground. So who will be the first pilot to collide with a wind turbine or wind farm? Obviously, solar panels would not be dangerous but, even then, flying over the UK will require the wearing of sunglasses (shades), because of the glare from all those solar panels! In spite of my light-hearted post, some serious discussion on the World-wide introduction of ‘alternative energy’, and its effect on air movements, would be a good thing. Have you had a problem with wind turbines in or around your country? What do you think? Bri :confused:
Original post

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13 years 7 months

Posts: 286

In the wonderful world of air traffic control, large wind farms can give us grief with spurious radar returns, this is something that has been looked at and taken seriously. An example would be Glasgow where there is a large wind farm south of the city, here the power company concerned has got together with NATS and a new radar is to be installed which will over come the radar coverage problems. From a GA persepctive, when I was going through my PPL albeit circa 1981 I was taught when planning my route to mark out the high obsticals be it hills w/t towers etc and plan my "safety" height accordingly so if viz did go down I'd be safe from hitting said obsticals. So no excuses from poor flight planning!:rolleyes: just my 2Euros worth regards Cliff
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19 years 9 months

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Firstly I beleive this is just one of those ideas that the No10 press people dangle out fot he window every day for the consumption of the media. Whether it is viable and will go ahead is highly debateable Even if it does, it seems sea-based platforms are favoured. This would only really effect the military and aircraft on a MCA contract. If you are in that area with a light aircraft with a bad cloudbase and at that level, I would suggest something has gone quite wrong with the preflight planning!
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19 years 9 months

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As for wind farms inland, they are usually placed in qute windy areas... Maybe not the best place to fly either.
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14 years 11 months

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In west Texas there are many windfarms near (and who knows, perhaps in) military low level training areas. Now if the towers were in an established corridor, then the military would have a say in the pre-building environmental planning process (which ends up with a document about as thick as a London phone book). So far, not too many problems. Especially if the towers are only 250 ft tall...the min. altitude is something like 500 ft for peacetime training. And for military pilots, knowing where they are is part of their job. I'd worry for some poor GA type in bad weather, but if he's at 250 feet in muck...hitting a tower is probably the least of his problems.
Profile picture for user The Blue Max

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14 years 6 months

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As for wind farms inland, they are usually placed in qute windy areas... Maybe not the best place to fly either.
Apart from the one's at Finedon northamptonshire that are about two fields from a very nice private strip:eek: Same land owner mind and a great Nav aid for pointing out the strip to anyone;)

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13 years 11 months

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I have done a fair bit of photography of wind farms in Scotland and can confirm that the hills they are sited on often do have wind effects best avoided at low levels.Yesterday we were still descending at full power over one, but we still had 2000 feet in hand when we left the area. At least they are far more visible than the electricity pylons which can already be 300 feet agl.
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14 years 9 months

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Have a look at this from Google earth which shows the location of windfarms both actual and proposed in Scotland. http://www.brooks22.plus.com/Windfarms.kmz We still have plenty of space but for how long if Transponders become a requirement for controlled airspace!

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12 years 11 months

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I like them. Not just for the environmental benefits but for navigation landmarks! I remember in my PPL training I had to fly to a difficult to find strip. It was after flying enroute for an hour or so with not a lot of landmarks. I was not at a high level and the field was in a bit of a valley - if you were slightly off track you could miss it. "Field" is what it was too. It was a sheep paddock surrounded by other sheep paddocks, with a sheet of corrugated iron on the fence at either end to indicate that was the strip. No GPS back then. I was elated when a wind farm was put nearby. I could see it for miles!
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14 years 1 month

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A number have sprung up in the Fens near me. They actually now hinder navigation as it is difficult to decide wich one is which! Also you need to be very careful when climbing away from PFLs!:eek:
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19 years 9 months

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It's not the Wind Power Stations (They are NOT Farms!) that all you GA Aviators need to worry about, it's the people behind them you should be worried about. The Green Zealots who believe in wind generation are on a mission to save the earth, so how long do you think they will continue to tolerate you flying around the sky, producing CO2 for no good reason! It they get their way you won't be allowed to drive to the airfield to look at your aeroplane, never mind fly it!

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13 years 5 months

Posts: 388

The Green Zealots who believe in wind generation are on a mission to save the earth...
Keith, your choice of the word 'Zealot' is just right. I consider this feature of modern life to be the first new religion of the 21st century and, just like other religions, it has large numbers of people dedicated to furthering their belief with no dissent allowed. All zealots have one thing in common: tunnel vision. This lot don't consider the fact that wind turbines (solar panels etc) have to be manufactured - in factories that use masses of power - from products dug out of the ground. The employees who design and manufacture these things probably drive to work and use power at their workplace. Then the products have to be transported around the world. By the way, a UK government report says that none of the wind turbines south of Scotland have produced even the minimum power required. Ah, well, that's life! Bri :)

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14 years 5 months

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This lot don't consider the fact that wind turbines (solar panels etc) have to be manufactured - in factories that use masses of power - from products dug out of the ground. The employees who design and manufacture these things probably drive to work and use power at their workplace. Then the products have to be transported around the world.
Here here, just what I've been saying too..... Puts the zealots very much in the same category as the green wellie brigade they detest, who trade in their perfectly servicable CO2 belching 4x4s in favour of a brand spanking new hybrid version, supposedly justifying the change on environmental grounds, while really using that as an excuse to cover their comnsumerist desire to get another brand new car on the driveway. Just how much energy and natural resource has been spent in making their new eco-friendly (well, marginally less eco-unfriendly ;) ) toy, as compared to what might have been spent keeping the old one going till it was completely worn out? By all means replace goods, with less damaging ones, when they are properly worn out, but don't change them for change's or vanity's sake, that's simply not eco-responsible to my way of thinking? We've only got one planet,and when the natural resources are gone they're gone - it doesn't matter what they've been spent on... and replacement/consumable parts consumed during a car's lifetime probably "cost" less than building a whole new vehicle from scratch. A company I know very well is currently calculating it's green footprint (another "Eco-trendy" thing to do), but although it's goods are made to order globally, they will only start to count towards the comapny's footprint once the company takes ownership after they land at a UK port - so all the energy spent in making them, and making the starting materials that go into them, and in getting the staff to the factories to make them etc, plus any energy spent making the ship/aeroplane that brought them to UK can simply be ignored, as can the CO2 spent by UK staff in their normal commute to their sites of work - so even if employees travel 200miles a day every working day then that carbon does not count towards the company footprint! What a load of bull****e :eek: Paul F

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13 years 5 months

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We had better be careful what we say. People like us were called heretics in the past, and look what happened to them! Bri :diablo:
Profile picture for user VX927

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13 years 8 months

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This lot don't consider the fact that wind turbines (solar panels etc) have to be manufactured - in factories that use masses of power - from products dug out of the ground.
Come on bri... I'm no 'tree hugger' but you cant seriously use the argument that because the turbine has to be manufactured, then it's a less environmentally friendly than more 'traditional' methods of generating power... Lets at least look at the pros and cons of the two proposed methods (from a flying point of view only)... Wind farms - Have to go a bit higher to be safe... Nuclear power... 5 mile exclusions zones? Take your pick! I suppose the one advantage of the wind farm route is that the CAA are (or at least were) putting pressure on the wind farms to help finance a low cost mode S for us all to use, based on the fact that wind farms wouldn't be such an issue if we were all flying around with Mode S.

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13 years 5 months

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VX927: The 'play wot you saw' was not the 'play wot I wrote'. Please read the copy you quoted again. Bri
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13 years 8 months

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VX927: The 'play wot you saw' was not the 'play wot I wrote'. Please read the copy you quoted again. Bri
Sorry Bri, I obviously got the wrong end of the stick... But when I saw "This lot don't consider the fact that wind turbines (solar panels etc) have to be manufactured - in factories that use masses of power - from products dug out of the ground", I was of the impression that you were saying that the 'sustainable' route isn't actually that sustainable because these things have to be manufactured "in factories that use masses of power - from products dug out of the ground." Sorry if I get the wrong end of the stick... Perhaps you'd like to enlighten us (or at least me!) as to how I should have read that statement? I've read through the copy I quoted and I cant see what else you meant to say?

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13 years 5 months

Posts: 388

I won't get involved with online arguments, but thanks for the apology. Suffice to say I made no comparisons - the wording was concise. My point was that people who believe in these methods of power generation and constantly push for their use never, ever, concern themselves with their manufacture and supply - which must be included in the equation. Bri :)
Profile picture for user VX927

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13 years 8 months

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Bri, Isn't a forum about debate?... Which can be conceived as an argument! What are you looking for?.. a bunch of yes men who will all agree with you, or someone to give their opinions on the subject you raised? Anyway, like you, I'm not looking for an argument... I'm simply asking how should we have read your post? I think that what you'll find is that those people who actually know a bit about what they're talking about are able to consider ALL the factors that go into things like wind farms, and are able to make a reasoned opinion based on those factors. The reality is that everything has to be manufactured. Would you rather they manufacture a wind turbine, and then get sustainable energy from it, or should we manufacture fossil fuel power stations and get non renewable energy from it? Or should we go Nuclear? Going back to the original question, "Wind Farms and Aviation Safety" - If the CAA get their way and persuade the wind generation company's to assist in the finance of a low cost, low power mode S transponder for the GA community, then wind farms will have done their bit to improve overall aviation safety.

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16 years 2 months

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In west Texas there are many windfarms near (and who knows, perhaps in) military low level training areas. Now if the towers were in an established corridor, then the military would have a say in the pre-building environmental planning process (which ends up with a document about as thick as a London phone book). So far, not too many problems. Especially if the towers are only 250 ft tall...the min. altitude is something like 500 ft for peacetime training. And for military pilots, knowing where they are is part of their job. I'd worry for some poor GA type in bad weather, but if he's at 250 feet in muck...hitting a tower is probably the least of his problems.
That may be the limits the US forces work to but I can assure you that the RAF regularly operate at 250 feet and the Army Air Corps rarely go above 150. Like the AAC pilots are fond of saying "anything above 150 feet is fast jet country and we don't want to mix with them":)