The Topeka Capital-Journal’s recent article, “KU study explores wind farm, airport intersection,” highlights just one of the many navigational challenges that must be considered when wind energy farms are proposed. The placement of wind turbines has the potential to affect avionics much beyond their impact on the performance of small aircraft.
The Cape Wind project, currently planned for the Horseshoe Shoal off the coast of Massachusetts, would span a highly-congested 25-mile area known for frequent fog and wind storms. It is surrounded by transportation routes used by shipping operators, ferry lines, commercial airlines and recreational mariners. At the peak of the summer season, thousands of flights pass daily through airspace around Cape Wind. Local ferry operators have called the project “an accident waiting to happen.”
FAA studies have concluded wind turbines have the potential to affect radar operations, which would present further challenges to navigation. A Freedom of Information Request by the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound seeking information on the performance of the TDX-2000 radar system guiding aircraft in the area around Cape Wind has yet to receive a response.
The Kansas Department of Aviation and The University of Kansas deserves credit for helping to shed light on this serious safety issue. This should be the first in a series of studies about the impact of wind turbines on air travel, not the last, before any large, off shore, European-style wind farms are built.
GEORGE LANDRITH, Fairfax, VA.
President, Frontiers of Freedom
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