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Wind turbines and radar interference

Kingsville officials oppose a planned wind farm near Rivera (“Kingsville resolution opposes wind farm project,” March 28).

They are concerned about potential interference with Navy radar. I say these concerns are well founded. The turbines north of Nueces Bay definitely interfere with FAA radar right here in Corpus Christi.

Radar looks for moving targets in the sky and the turbine blades above our flat horizon are exactly that. The radar scans the horizon about every 4 seconds. It sees the tips of a few of the blades that are straight up at the time of the scan.

On the next scan it sees a different collection of blades that are high enough to be detected. It then tries to correlate the two sets of targets to calculate speed and direction of movement. Of course they don’t correlate because the sets are unrelated.

These false targets appear on the radar scopes of Corpus Christi air traffic controllers. Also they appear in the worst location because these wind turbines were built all around the main navigational aid (CRP VORTAC).

The result is that the ability of controllers to issue legitimate traffic advisories near the VORTAC is compromised.

The FAA will say that safety is their first priority, but they didn’t have the foresight to see this problem. I’m glad Kingsville (and maybe others) are learning.

Jack Hord, retired air traffic controller