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Wind farms, do they impact on training in the UK

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Wind farms, do they impact on training in the UK

Old 26th Sep 2012, 13:24
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Wind farms, do they impact on training in the UK

Im currently doing my dissertation at university looking at the impact wind farms has on aviation. Im interested in a Military point of view in how they may impact on low low level flying and training that you do. If anyone has any information or would like to fill out my short online questionnaire they can email me at:

[email protected]

My questionnaire is at:


Thanks for your help!
Flyboy91 is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 13:53
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The main problem is the crosswind they generate when running at full speed.

Oh, and they're worth avoiding at low level and they do have an effect on radar. But it's not too hard to live with them. Except for the crosswind.

Courtney Mil is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 14:35
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I can remember many an occasion at 420kts when a usefully placed wind farm in LFA7 confirmed what I had until that pointrather assumed to be my location! And I'm sure having sat in the back of many a stude SAP that I'm not alone .
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Old 26th Sep 2012, 14:38
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Not sure if you are familiar with the US Navy's concerns on a wind farm in southern Texas. Here are some useful links, hope they are of help. Publicly released information.

DoD, Navy and Wind Farm Developer Release Historic Memorandum of Agreement
Lonewolf_50 is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 17:03
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Thank you everyone for your response so far! I was wondering if anyone knew more about the effect they have on ATC radar? Research I have done has found a lot of evidence saying clutter shadows etc on radar is a problem and has been investigated. However, I'm getting a lot of mixed response some people saying they have no effect at all, others saying it can be a big problem. I assume this depends on where the farms are located in regards to the radar signals but there is a lot of varying response about this issue.

Thanks lonewolf good info!
Mike91 is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 17:08
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Often it's not the wind farm that causes the trouble but the extremely difficult to see anemometer masts that are erected all over the place while they try to establish where best to site the turbines. More often than not these masts do not require to be pre notified or NOTAM'd, are temporary in nature and are at heights that could make your eyes water!

Many FW and RW aircraft operating in the low level environment have had very late spots and I believe many mil flying units now maintain their own charts depicting these obstructions...once spotted.


Edited to add my reply crossed with yours so apologies not necessarily the info you were after.....and what's with the 2 user names?!

Last edited by Spanish Waltzer; 26th Sep 2012 at 17:10.
Spanish Waltzer is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 18:12
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And that's why 1 Gp are no longer doing night LF at those heights

In terms of impact upon radars, ther should be a great deal of info available online but the short answer is if something appears in line of sight of a radar the radar will detect it. The problem of lots of slightly moving radar contacts in uncontrolled airspace is that you need to avoid them, lest they are slow moving ac.
whowhenwhy is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 19:44
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these two articles from "The Register" may give you jumping off points to start looking with
Ofgem, MoD attack pricey terror-friendly windmills ? The Register

Ofcom gets puffed out over wind turbines ? The Register

And around a year ago there was a much-hidden announcement that the RAF/MOD had withdrawn much of their objection to new wind farms following the purchase of a number (three???) of new mobile radar units. There was a thread in PPRuNe about it, but I've been unable to find it so far.
There seemed to be a bit of a hidden agenda going on at the time, as it appeared that the radar purchase had actually been funded by the government dept that looks after power generation by rerouting some of its wind power subsidies.....i.e the MOD were bribed to drop their objections by being given the radars
I'm sure some of the others here know more
Milo Minderbinder is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 20:59
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Up until just over a year ago I was fairly well into plans with a wind turbine company to erect a 17 metre turbine on my land. I am 450' ASL and I live in the Culdrose MATZ. There is an identical turbine about half a mile from my house at a similar height ASL.

The company then abandoned their plans because MOD had stated that it would object to all turbines above a certain height in a specified area, which in effect was SW Cornwall. ATC concerns were being given as the reason.

Ah well - bang went a nice little supplement to my pension. I now find that Cornwall Council have plans to develop around 20 sites in the county with much taller turbines, including in the area where I live. Dunno if MOD have changed their views re ATC concerns, or whether Cornwall Council thinks they can take on MOD in the courts. I've lost interest anyway.
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Old 26th Sep 2012, 21:10
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As the blades spin, the radar systems may be swamped with Doppler-shifted reflections, or may pick up each individual blade, causing the farm to appear as a confusing mass on the screen, making it hard to identify aircraft or other targets, or obscuring important data from the radar screen. The result of this interference is to cause radar "black holes" in which aircraft moving of any height cannot be distinguished and so cannot fly safely. In addition, wind farms can create a shadow in their wake in which low flying aircraft cannot be distinguished. Wind farms, especially large ones, may also interfere with the onboard navigational aids of ships and aircraft. This is of particular concern in regard to the very large offshore wind farms which are currently being developed in Northern Europe.

Although the interactions are complex, in general wind turbines reflect radio waves in a number of ways. The Glass Reinforced Plastic that makes up the majority of wind turbine blades is itself reflective, as are the metallic lightning conductors which snake through the inside of the blades and towers. The towers and nacelles themselves may also have large radar cross sections, particularly when there are many turbines located together (in comparison to their length, cylinders are said to have a large RCS). Other factors such as the pitch and yaw of the turbine and the individual pitch of the blades may also affect the RCS. Blades spinning to and away from the path of the radar system at a 90 angle to the receiver will have a greater impact than those in other positions as a result of the enhanced Doppler effects.

The NOAA radar Ops Center has some very good data...
Radar Operations Center - Wind Farm Index
Wind Farm Impact On Doppler Radar

Last edited by FlightPathOBN; 26th Sep 2012 at 21:13.
FlightPathOBN is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 22:15
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It is a little known fact that the increase in resistance caused by the wind farms is causing the rotation of the earth to slow down. It has been predicted that we will have to adjust to to a 25 hour long day. When this happens the government will adopt an 8 day week.
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Old 26th Sep 2012, 22:23
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the increase in resistance caused by the wind farms is causing the rotation of the earth to slow down
No no it's the extra weight of all the fat people which is causing this problem
OafOrfUxAche is offline  
Old 26th Sep 2012, 22:26
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going back to my earlier post, some press reports about the new radars.
I seem to remember someone making the comment at the time that these were "old technology" and that - for instance - Pakistan had had them for years....

MoD radar breakthrough promises green light to 4GW of windfarms | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Equipment and Logistics | MOD paves way for new wind-farm-friendly radars
Milo Minderbinder is offline  
Old 27th Sep 2012, 02:34
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Personally I find provided they are accurately marked and you keep your maps updated they are no more of an issue than wires and actually fairly useful when it comes to navigation.
upsdaisy is offline  
Old 27th Sep 2012, 09:12
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Upsdaisy, I really wouldn't recommend the use of maps to identify where these wind farms are popping up. The windfarm developers do not like to register their wind monitoring towers and they also refuse to mark them appropriately. The wind monitoring towers are the most dangerous structure that I have seen throughout my career. The wind turbines themselves are just a pain in the bum when they are in the way. Their turbulence also causes some hairy moments when you aren't expecting it! Windfarms present a far higher degree of immediate danger than most wires do. I'm just glad that there are not the numbers of monitoring towers and turbines as there are wires to contend with.
Lucerne is offline  
Old 27th Sep 2012, 12:26
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For your info East Midlands Airport actually have two on the Airport and four were planned, the tower has the facility to shut them down when the wind is the wrong direction, though you hardly see them not running, they objected to one in Castle Donington village I believe because of the impact on the radar, though the ones on the airport are supposed to be ok as they are closer to the source i was told.. Don't know if of any help

East Midlands Airport : Wind Turbine Proposal

wind turbines east midlands airport - Google Search
NutLoose is offline  
Old 27th Sep 2012, 14:43
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They don't just create shadows they also seduce electronically generated tracks in most radar systems. Wake turbulence is well known and there are studies underway.

You may find this document useful. http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/Cap764.pdf

From my perspective, the answer is to deploy multi-static primary surveillance radar, either passive or active. Not only does it free up spectrum but, as the system works in three dimensions, most of the problems could be mitigated by this system. Problem is, it is developing technology and will cost money to set up.
Widger is offline  
Old 27th Sep 2012, 21:37
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Widger, agree on the multi static approach.

heh, on the political level, that is just One More Cost factor not disclosed in the Green Initiatives that are so politcally popular, but have the occasional fiscal or engineering side effect.
Lonewolf_50 is offline  
Old 28th Sep 2012, 20:18
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I believe that the UK Met Office weather radar at Eaglesham Moor just south of Glasgow had to be moved when it became swamped by returns from the adjacent (and mahoosive) wind farm.

Although you wouldn't need radar to spot when a turbine overspeeds! Winter weather: Scotland and England are battered by gale force winds and storms - Telegraph
Green Flash is offline  
Old 28th Sep 2012, 22:10
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Keep in mind the survey datum that is shown on the charts is to the top of the rotor hub, not the tip of the blades. Can be a bit of an issue with 50m blades.
FlightPathOBN is offline  

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