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Airport boss: ‘Mast is a danger to aircraft’  

Credit:  By SIMON BROUDER | www.kerryman.ie 1 August 2012 ~~

A weather mast, which it is claimed poses a risk to aircraft, has been allowed stay in place by Kerry County Council despite warnings from management at Kerry Airport that it could cause a “disastrous” accident.

The Council’s planning department has recommended that permission be granted for the retention of an 80metre mast on the site of a proposed windfarm overlooking Brosna.

The decision came after the council received a letter from Kerry Airport Manager Peter Moore ( above) warning that the mast is a danger to planes.

Mr Moore said pilot error could result in a plane crashing into the mast with potentially “disastrous consequences”.

In spite of airport management’s objections the Council has recommended that the mast can remain in place. A CONTROVERSIAL weather mast, which it’s claimed poses a risk to aircraft, has been allowed stay in place by Kerry County Council despite warnings from senior management at Kerry Airport that it could cause a “disastrous” accident.

On July 25 officials at Kerry County Council’s planning department recommended that permission be granted to Dublin-based firm Coollegreane Wind Farm Ltd for the retention of an 80-metre meteorological mast on the site of a proposed windfarm at Coollegrean Hill, about five kilometres south of Brosna.

The decision came ten days after Kerry County Council received a letter from Kerry Airport Manager Peter Moore objecting to the mast. Mr Moore wrote that the mast was in a critical area of the approach to the airport in Farranfore and thus posed a danger to air navigation.

In his letter, Mr Moore told Kerry County Council that pilot error could result in a plane crashing into the mast with potentially “disastrous consequences”.

The airport manager also said that the mast, which has no warning light, is a danger to the specialised aircraft that is required to calibrate Kerry Airport’s four hightech computerised approach guidance systems twice a year. These guidance systems must be precisely calibrated to ensure any aircraft can safely land or take off from Kerry.

The height of the mast means the calibration aircraft, which is flown in specially from the UK, does not have sufficient clearance to carry out its calibration run.

The presence of the mast has caused this, six monthly, calibration flight to be called off or postponed on a number occasions when visibility was poor.

On one occasion, according to Mr Moore, the calibration flight nearly collided with the mast with an accident only narrowly averted thanks to the alertness of the crew.

In spite of airport management’s objections Kerry County Council has recommended that the mast can remain in place.

In the Planning Report that recommends retention permission for the mast be granted, and which was published ten days after the Council received Mr Moore’s letter, Kerry County Council said the mast created no increased risk to aviation.

The report also states that the authority had referred the file to all “relevant aviation bodies” and no negative submissions were returned.

It is also specifically states that Kerry County Council contacted Kerry Airport about the matter and that the authority had received no report back from the airport.

This statement was published in the council’s planning report on July 25, 2012. That was ten days after Mr Moore’s letter was received by Kerry County Council, stamped and entered in the planning file.

The planning file also shows that Kerry County Council had previously refused an application to build a six-turbine windfarm on the same site because the development would “endanger the safety of aircraft” and “compromise the calibration of the instrument landing system at Kerry Airport.”

As The Kerryman went to press Kerry County Council had not responded to five specific questions put to it about the case.

Source:  By SIMON BROUDER | www.kerryman.ie 1 August 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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