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.
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