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Airport board to examine potential instrument interference

After previously seeking examination into whether proposed wind turbines might impact airspace in Clay County, the Airport Board of Trustees sought to examine whether or not a single wind turbine – that would potentially be close by – would possibly cause interference with instruments utilized at the airport if it were erected.

“Seven miles off the end of our runway, one two, that’s the instrument landing runway. … There’s a marker beacon that’s (broadcast) at 75 megacycles, and there’s a low frequency compass locater on a frequency of 394 kHz, that’s (a) real low frequency. The concern is that the low frequency with those blades swinging as the aircraft comes up on it, could cause a modulation of that signal. … If that turbine is real close, it could cause the needle to wiggle back and forth and that would not be good if that happened. That’s the reason we need to look into that for possible interference,” Bill Hemme, airport board member said.

Matt Leuck, Airport Line manager, explained that many elements of aviation can be dangerous, and that utilizing instruments is a vital way for pilots to navigate in poor conditions.

“If the engine in your car breaks down, you pull over. You don’t have that luxury with aviation, so … everything is intensified,” Leuck said. “(In poor conditions, sometimes) they have to shoot the approach, which means they’re flying on instrumentation only, and it can get down to a point where (a pilot is flying) 200 feet above the ground. … When you’re flying like that, … you can’t see, (and can) easily get disoriented.”

The board of trustees decided that they would need to communicate with the various parties involved in order to ensure that any potential interference or any possible negative ramifications could be prevented.