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‘It creates obstacles’: Aviation school raises flag about proposed wind farm in Pottawattamie County
Pottawatomie County is experiencing a little more turbulence over a plan to build a wind farm near Treynor.
The proposed site is where student pilots learn to fly. Revv Aviation Flight School says turbines would create obstacles for their training and even graduation due to an increased cost for students.
As students touch and go from the Council Bluffs Airport Tuesday, the chief flight instructor has helped hundreds of students’ careers take off, training above hundreds of miles in the county.
“It’s very convenient, very short flight for our students to get there, do the maneuvers that they’re required to do, and then get back,” chief flight instructor Jerome Howard said.
Students fly about eight miles away to an open area near Treynor to practice maneuvers and emergency procedures. That’s also where officials are proposing to build a number of wind towers.
Revv Aviation and the Council Bluffs Airport Authority explained the road bump to county supervisors Tuesday. Blades can reach up to 800 feet, where students have to fly below commercial pilots steering passengers – putting pressure on air traffic controllers.
“That’s a lot to keep track of, so to the extent that they can have that separation of traffic, that’s very important,” said Andy Biller, from the Council Bluffs Airport Authority.
The flight instructor says students would have to cover the cost – like more fuel to fly elsewhere – to a place not mapped out yet.
“Because now they’re taking longer to get out and get back, plus do the maneuvers out in the area so that it is going to increase the costs for the student,” Howard said.
Boeing says the industry needs as many as 649,000 new pilots over the next 20 years to maintain the global commercial fleet. One less obstacle would be a breeze, if officials place the wind farm elsewhere.
Pottawattamie County supervisors are holding another public hearing about the wind farm at the Oakland community center from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday.
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