A plan to put 49 wind turbines on 11,000 acres near Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., has triggered opposition from the only F-15E Strike Eagle training squadrons in the Air Force.
The proposed wind farm would stand within 15 nautical miles of military training routes, the base said in a news release Monday, placing “dozens of 498-foot obstacles within a route where thousands of low-altitude, high speed military training sorties are flown every year.”
Seymour Johnson houses four F-15E squadrons, which make up nearly half of the service’s Strike Eagle fleet. F-15E pilots receive basic qualification and requalification training at the base, in the city of Goldsboro. The squadrons also conduct transition training for all pilots and weapon systems officers who fly the Strike Eagle.
The fighter jets fly at altitudes as low as 500 feet, the base said in the news release. The wind turbines, which could rise to nearly 500 feet, pose a safety risk to pilots, especially at night, the base said. Further, the wind farm could interfere with military radars used to track F-15E practice runs.
The Air Force has posted a preliminary wind turbine impact analysis on the base’s website, www.seymourjohnson.af.mil.
The proposed wind farm, called the Pantego Wind Energy project, requires both military and environmental approval, according to the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association.
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