The Federal Aviation Administration says a proposed wind farm on the Broad Mountain will not impact aircraft flying to and from local airports.
Last week, the federal agency released its report on the 22 turbines proposed for Packer Township, which if built will reach 655 feet tall.
The report determined that the turbines do not create a hazard to air navigation.
“This aeronautical study revealed that the structure would have no substantial adverse effect on the safe and efficient utilization of the navigable airspace by aircraft or on the operation of air navigation facilities,” the report read.
Broad Mountain Power LLC, a subsidiary of a Canadian utility company, has proposed the wind farm on the Broad Mountain.
The project still needs approval from the Packer Township Zoning Hearing Board before they are built. Some property owners who live near the proposed turbines have expressed opposition to the project.
If built, the turbines will be located between 6 and 9 nautical miles from the Carbon County/Jake Arner Memorial Airport.
The FAA determined that if the turbines are built, pilots taking off from the airport will have to climb to a slightly higher altitude when departing the airport. But the difference of 100 feet is not significant, according to pilots.
Paul Smith, chairman of the Carbon County Airport Authority, said he doesn’t expect that the turbines will have much impact on the Jake Arner Memorial Airport, because they are relatively far away.
“Anything that sticks up that high is always a concern, but it’s really not a concern for the airport, because of how far it is away from the air traffic pattern,” Smith said.
John Conahan, a pilot who flies out of Jake Arner Memorial, said the impact is not significant, because planes are already well above the altitude of the turbines by the time they reach the Broad Mountain.
“The terrain around it is probably more of an impact than the wind turbines would be,” Conahan said.
As part of the FAA approval, the turbines must be painted white and equipped with flashing red lights to signal aircraft.
The FAA received three public comments during the approval process.
One comment brought up the Jake Arner Memorial Airport. The FAA responded that it would not have a substantial impact on the airport’s flight operations.
Another comment said the turbines may affect planes flying from Hazleton to the Lehigh Valley. The FAA said it could affect planes flying lower than 2,500 feet along that route, but there was not a significant volume of activity at that altitude.
A third comment had to do with turbulence from the turbines affecting a small private air strip located in Packer Township. The FAA responded that turbulence is not part of their review.
The Packer Township Zoning hearing board has held several hearings regarding Broad Mountain Power’s application.
The turbines would be located on property owned by Kovatch Enterprises Inc. and Hazleton Electric Inc.
The next hearing is scheduled to take place tonight.
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