Deadly Aircraft/Turbine Disaster at Highland Wind Farms ‘Just a matter of time’

plane wind-farm-scotland

Highland Cessna Jockey rises to meet a sea of flyer’s ‘concerns’ …

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A couple of weeks back, we looked at a report on how the RAF’s best of the best have been involved in dozens of near misses with these things in the UK, unnecessarily risking their lives every time they hit the skies:

RAF’s Top Guns Call Wind Farms a ‘Disaster in the Making’ for Flyers

The predictably glib and callous response from the wind industry and its parasites is that the risk of life and limb to flyers is just another one of those pesky “concerns” to be glossed over with a PowerPoint presentation, some soothing words and promises to fully “consult” stakeholders. Provided the consultation of “stakeholders” includes air crash investigators, paramedics and mortuary owners, then the wind industry will have truly covered the field.

You see, the risks to flyers are not merely “concerns”, they’ve become deadly reality. In the post above were referred to a pilot and his three passengers killed in a light plane in South Dakota, as it struck a turbine blade in foggy conditions; and we also referred to a highly experienced Ag pilot who was killed when his plane slammed into a wind farm MET tower.

Following on from the fears of the RAF’s Top Guns, light aircraft pilots in Scotland are predicting the obvious, inevitable and thoroughly unnecessary disaster, that’s just waiting to happen.

Pilots warn of a disaster as wind farms flourish
Sunday Express
Paula Murray
4 October 2015

Light aircraft pilots have warned it is “just a matter of time” before wind farms cause a “disastrous” accident in Scotland.

Small planes along with helicopters, gliders, microlights and other hobbyists make up the biggest user group of the UK airspace in terms of low level flying and contribute some £3billion to the economy supporting close to 40,000 jobs.

Member organisations admit the fast-growing renewables sector has created some “fairly significant” issues which they have fought hard to resolve.

Their main concerns relate to downwind turbulence from the turbine blades plus problems with visibility especially in poor conditions.

The fast pace of development mean maps and charts are often well behind of the size of existing farms and new developments with anenometer masts springing up to scout potential development sites.

Last month this newspaper revealed RAF pilots had reported a catalogue of near misses with wind farms and are making over 1,000 manual corrections to their charts every month to try and keep up with the changes.

However, general aviation industry is also struggling with the pace of development.

Last night the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) warned there was potential for a mid-air disaster.

LAA inspector Neil Geddes, of Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire, said: “Certainly there is a risk.

“You only really understand how cluttered parts of Scotland are with wind turbines when you are flying a light aircraft – you won’t really get the picture tens of thousands of feet high on board a passenger plane.

“They cause downwind turbulence which can be an issue but at least we can spot them and take evasive action.

“It is the anenometer masts put up to measure wind speed and such like that are the real problem. They are practically impossible to see because they are so tall and slim. If you don’t know there is one on your flight path – and lets face it, it takes maps a year to catch up and by then there will be more of them – there is little you can do.

“In certain weather and light conditions they will be impossible to detect. It’s only a matter of time before we have a disastrous accident in our hands.”

Microlight aircraft instructor Colin MacKinnon, who operates Scotland’s oldest airfield in Strathaven, Lanarkshire, near to Whitelee wind farm which is among the largest in Europe, said new developments had the potential to put people out of business unless they were willing to put up a fight.

He added: “For about four years, I spent at least one day a week to respond to wind development planning applications and despite promises of community benefits we never received a penny of any funds, which is a bit frustrating.

“If Whitelee decided to expand eastward and was given the planning permission to do so we’d be out of business.

“While millions of pounds have been spent to investigate the impact and guarantee the safety of commercial aviation such as relocating radars to avoid problems with readings, very little has been done for the general aviation sector which is us.

“One of the issues is turbulence. There is no research done as to how close to a turbine it will be safe to fly. We do not have the resource to fund such studies unlike the wind industry which has millions.

“So we err in the side of caution. None of us is brave or stupid enough to be a test pilot to see how close to a turbine you can fly before your plane is ripped to shreds.

“I think we are among the most experienced in the world when it comes to flying safely in the vicinity of turbines with Whitelee so near to us.”

Over the past five years there have been around 10,000 applications to construct approximately 24,000 turbines across the UK.

With prime locations already in use developers are looking at alternative sites, many of which are closer to population and activity centres.

A UK Government report to general aviation from earlier this year admitted some airfields had their operations threatened by wind turbine developments.

The LAA also admitted some energy companies were eyeing “inappropriate” spots for their structures.

CEO Stephen Slater said: “I would say that more than 90 per cent of the turbines run no aviation issues.

“The general aviation sector is the main user of low level air space. It’s not just light aircrafts we are talking about but also helicopters, gliders, microlights, parachuters and so on.

“But we do have certain factors that have to be considered. There is the risk of potential collision especially in poor, deteriorating conditions when turbines or masts near an airfield may limit the pilot’s options of approach and we know of the radar issues with turbines interfering with readings.

“We are also aware of the concerns over turbulence with anecdotal evidence from pilots.

“But I would say that over the years we have developed a good working relationship with the wind energy industry to mitigate any problems that may occur.”

Meanwhile campaigners opposing wind farms have drawn information from abroad to highlight issues to aviation.

Christine Metcalfe, of Loch Avich, Argyll, has requested confirmation under Freedom of Information legislation from Civil Aviation Authority that turbines and turbulence from them do not impact emergency landings at airports such as Prestwick in Ayrshire and Glasgow after receiving evidence from Australia, USA and Europe on safety issues.

She raised concerns Whitelee was constructed without appropriate safeguards in place and now wants to know what sort of radar and safety impact studies were carried out prior the vast development went up.

Ms Metcalfe also wants to know why there has been no studies into the effect turbulence from wind farms has on planes when the organisation itself said in 2012 there was an “urgent need” for an assessment.

CAA has issued guidance to aerodrome operators saying a “large number of turbines in an area” will have a cumulative effect that is “of far more significant concerns” but it is yet to respond to the FoI request in more detail.

The anti-wind farm campaigner said: “I have learned that during the early 90s the management of the CAA were very supportive of the campaign involving resistance wind turbines as they had real and valid concerns even then. It is a great pity that times appear to have changed somewhat – almost certainly due to governmental pressures.

“Without the overall checks and balances in place for this technology, if such pressures were applied they are being proven to be misguided at best and at worst contributing to dangerous decisions being made.”
Sunday Express

plane_new_crop_t607-665x385

Wind Industry turns 4 South Dakotans into a ‘concern’ for the undertaker.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Crispin Trist says:

    A picture saves a thousand words as they say. With this in mind I have posted the link below. This was not shot by me and I hope that the author will not mind me putting this link up. But it illustrates the issue perfectly in my opinion. This IS what we are talking about here.

    I have also met a local paraglider who told me that whilst flying near the Cape Bridgewater wind turbines, was actually chased by the Pacific Hydro site manager on the ground in his vehicle and was ordered to come down!

    What do Pacific Hydro know that they are not telling us?

    Today you may see the odd paraglider flying in the area. But this could have been a potentially huge tourist attraction for Portland, and Cape Bridgewater.

    Another tourism opportunity lost thanks to industrial wind turbines.

    Thanks Pacific Hydro. Thanks for nothing!

  2. Terry Conn says:

    A senior financier in one of Australia’s big four banks recently said to me that problems with wind farms are just a ‘matter of perception’. This also appears to be the view of our ‘computer modelled’ controlled Minister For The Environment’, Greg Hunt, and many others in positions of power.

    This post once again highlights that wind farms are not a social or political issue that one can just ‘feel good’ about but that each turbine is a massive physical structure that when placed alongside each other in ever increasing numbers creates huge physical impacts on the surrounding environment which when each ‘wind farm’ is put together with the others radically changes the entire physical environment. Professor Baiyda Roy in the US has done extensive work on the ‘micro climate’ impacts. Added to this are all the avian studies and now must be added the ‘human flight’ scenario and impacts of wind turbines on that.

    Unless and until some ‘diehard’ powerful greenie power broker gets sliced in half flying his/her hang glider too close to a wind turbine than ‘perception’ rather than ‘physical reality’ will rule the day in our ‘computer modelled’ ruled corridors of power. In the meantime ‘real’ people just have to keep trying to get it into the heads of those remote from actual physical issues associated with wind turbines that these issues are real and must be dealt with.

    • Terry there might be just a bit of truth to that. It is a matter of perception. The fact that some people have such dull faculties and think the these spinning monstrosities are benign “healthy” additions to the environment.

      But strangely pro-wind folk show little interest to move into areas where wind turbines rule the landscape and decrease the sale values of affected homes, and so banks tend not to lend to people trying to buy rural properties affected by wind developments.

  3. This should concern every citizen who thinks that medevac units using choppers to speed critically ill or injured patients to trauma centers are important. Areas studded with industrial turbines will probably become no-fly zones for these choppers in less than perfect flying conditions.

  4. There have been at least two incidents of planes crashing into wind turbines here in the United States – that we know about! Interestingly, major mainstream media outlets never cover these horrific incidents.

    At the same time of the last deadly crash, there was a hot air balloon accident with fatalities that was covered for days on TV — but NO mention of the fatal plane crash into a wind turbine. Doesn’t coincide with their ‘green’ ($$$) agenda, don’t ya know!?! See:

    4 Dead After Small Plane Crash Into S.D. Wind Turbine:
    http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/04/4_dead_after_small_plane_crash.html

  5. Christine Metcalfe says:

    Having been mentioned in the WEA post I should like to assure everyone of the importance of both the STT site and others in establishing the ability of all of us to network and share valuable information. It is one of the most important means we have to examine and assess information, peer reviewed studies etc., and enable our voices to be heard when trying to hold authorities (worldwide) to account. Without this, single efforts would not get very far! I for one, am particularly grateful for all the assistance received both from both lay and professional sources. Please keep the dialogues and information sharing going – and never give up researching for the truth!

    Christine Metcalfe.

  6. Keep up the good work protecting our aviators

  7. Here is video I took in Australia showing peculiar whirly cloud formations down wind from wind turbines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsA9pygImNs&feature=youtu.be

  8. We have shared your post, STT. This is the second part of our intro:

    The piece mentions the indefatigable Christine Metcalfe from Argyll, who has pursued this relentlessly, and is still doing so, with the authorities via Freedoms of Information.

    The media has gone very quiet on the subject and we are puzzled by this. We would have expected that such a potentially life-threatening subject, which should be of concern to all – pilots and flyers of all descriptions and the general public, all of whom could potentially be impacted, would have been taken up and followed through.

    All of the correspondence with the authorities can be seen on the Winds of Justice website, at the link below.

    It will be noticed that Christine has been in touch with the Australian pilot who gave evidence on the problems of windfarm turbulence to the Senate Inquiry and is pursuing this separate aspect.

    You will see, from the last FOI response, that the DECC is weighing up whether to release information requested by Christine is ‘in the public interest’!! As stated, a reply is in hand.

    http://www.windsofjustice.org.uk/…/air-traffic-safety-issu…/

  9. stand against wind says:

    The massive Mount Emerald wind farm (approved by the State Government with deplorable permit conditions, currently under assessment from the Feds due to environmental impacts) is proposed for an escarpment just a few km from the Mareeba air strip which is going through an expansion phase. Our pilots will just “love” being turbulence guinea pigs – especially the school of trainee pilots.

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