Flying Low, Dodging Wind Towers

NY Times, Brent McDonald and KC McGinnis
Crop-duster pilots working around wind farms are encountering a new and proliferating hazard camouflaged among the fields, one that has already led to several deaths.

also… Pictures from crop dusting in the Adelaide NextEra wind project this August, before the turbines were spinning. Next year will more of a challenge/risk for everyone.

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Ag Plane Crash Leads to $6.7 Million Wrongful Death Verdict

FlyingMag, Stephen Pope
When Steve Allen, a highly respected Northern California ag pilot with 26,000 accident free hours, crashed his Rockwell S-2R into a whisper-thin, barely visible galvanized steel wind observation tower on January 11, 2011, a dark and sickening secret about personal greed and avarice was exposed for all the world to see.

The $6.7 million wrongful death settlement the aviator’s family was awarded this month will hopefully help ensure other similar tragedies won’t happen in the future.

The tower, measuring just inches under 200 feet, was hastily erected in 2009 by wind energy interests “prospecting” for the perfect site for a new wind farm in Contra Costa County east of San Francisco. The odd height of the tower is central to the case — any tower under 200 feet doesn’t need to be lighted or reported to the FAA. But because these towers can pop up almost anywhere and are nearly impossible to see in flight, they pose a special danger to aerial application aircraft. Read article

12 thoughts on “Flying Low, Dodging Wind Towers

  1. ultra lights, gliders, single engine planes and ORNGE helicopters trying to save people’s lives, all are threatened, day & night by both the blades and by turbulence too

    • And try to get this information through to thick-headed urbanite dolts who don’t believe anyone else except the MSM in the GTA?

      • The MSM in Canada is very much controlled when it comes to IWT issues and this is the reason that maybe 90% of the information posted at OWR has to come from non-Canadian sources.

        if Canadian sources were available they would be used for information.

  2. Saw a “chopper”, this summer, spraying corn fields, on a farm, fronting on the next concession behind our farm. Samsung was still in the process of erecting turbines, in the immediate area, for the so-called Grand Renewable Energy “Park” here in Haldimand County. Helicopters and planes are being used more frequently for this particular task. Next summer these pilots will be forced to better hone their skills in order to avoid the unthinkable! The “wind observation” towers present a risk here as well with their guy wires barely visible “from the ground” let alone “from the air”.

  3. This was a very good piece telling a story that needs to be told, although there were three curious errors. First, the reporter called wind turbine towers “small.”Second, the pilot said the blades are 80 feet long. That may have been true in the 1980s and 90s. Today the blades are 150 to 180 feet long. Finally, The reporter errant only states that when the electricity produces one quarter of I was electricity. That is a gross exaggeration. First of all, electricity does not recognize State lines. Secondly, it is a well-known fact that I will produces about 11% of what it’s society consumes any electricity, from wind turbines. You think the New York Times could collect more accurate facts.

  4. Please excuse grammar and spelling errors made by Siri. Read my post phonetically. Sent from my iPhone.

  5. Yes, this is a big problem. A person who’s husband is a crop duster spoke to our state legislators about the issue I think last year in reference to some improved state legislation.. His comment, well has anyone been killed in the state (any crop dusters). To her knowledge “no”, but it’s interesting the thought process of the pro wind legislator.
    What I love is here in the states they aren’t called wind towers in the local newspapers — mostly they are “windmills” — better to sell the idea to the land owners who remember the windmills of the 1950’s.

    • Wind mills is the proper term for them and just modern versions of the old wind mills. But does mean less harm to most people. People think of the old multi-blade small farm wind mills that were used to pump water.

  6. While I sympathize with the pilots who are doing their job, I don’t sympathize with the chemicals being sprayed in the countryside. This chem stuff blows everywhere and I would like to see this kind of application banned. The last thing we need are more pesticides being applied to our food and land. Rural Ontario is turning into a dumping ground for pesticides, IWT’s and dumps. I’m fed up.

    • Darren, you have a point, however, the industrial wind turbines – kill the bats that eat the mosquito’s (insects)… thus those farmers will feel the need for more chemicals to use because we’ve lost the natural scheme of things — birds/bats that eat the insects.

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