27 Nov 2012

Airport and Aviation Protection Group - providing governance oversight


The Airport and Aviation Protection Group inception was circa 2008 when we met to defend Crookwell Aerodrome from the incursion of the Gullen Range Windfarm, as proposed by the Epuron development application. Where we appeared in the NSW Land and Envirnoment court and successfully contested the removal of 11 wind turbines; we did so with our own efforts, and own private funding, in our own time, and were the only group to actually set the legal precedent - of which we are proud. The history may be read at Wind Turbines.

The group has actively been involved in lobbying government, and during this period to date, we have received more than our fair share of resistance. It turns out that all our earlier efforts, other than the removal of 11 turbines, have been undone due to commercial and political influence:

Unfortunately no-one is addressing our original concerns for unregistered and uncertified aerodromes, and no one organisation has given any consideration to Wind Turbine Wake Plumes.

There was hope that Australia was to be the first Aviation State to address our concerns, and we felt that hope when we received the promise of legislation, but instead we find several years later that they are not even following ICAO recommendations for wind turbine markings and lighting; so we have no recourse but to lobby the senate to point out these glaring deficiencies in oversight and governance.

Mid November 2012 we have learned that CASA is concerned but is unable to act due to political influence, as well as due to the usual excuse of lack of legislation.

The Airport and Aviation Protection Group released their initial policy statement to the Senate on 29 Nov 2012 regarding the hazards that wind farm turbines represent to aviation.

Wind Turbine Wake Plumes are a Hazard to Aviation

Wake Plumes visible by condensation at Horns Rev wind farm Denmark - note the extent.

Wake Plumes

Whereas government has been concentrating on the physical obstruction aspects, the group has been concentrating on the turbine wake fields, which we have termed Wake Plumes, to emphasise that they are comprised of a vortex wake field in combination with a velocity deficit that is contained and does not significantly diverge as it flows downstream. (Equations and references are available on request to demonstrate their extents.)

You can clearly see several very important aspects of these Wake Plumes within the Horns Rev photograph:

It turns out that the Wake Plume contains a velocity deficit, where the aiflow within them is significantly slower than the free stream velocity, which means the plume is a wind-shear to aicraft, and the turbulence within the Wake extends further than the velocity decifit. In the case of the Horns Rev wind farm the deficits have been measured in excess of 20 kms downstream, so the Wake Plume effect is very significant.

We also have a Windmills in the Mist video of these Wake Plumes as they disperse fog surronding the Cullerin Range windfarm. This video shows just how dangerous grey and hidden blades are when they protrude from cloud. (This video is best viewed by saving to file and then opening with the Quicktime video player.)

Duty of Care

This in particular covers anyone, including the proponent, the land owner, the government, government employees, and their ministers, who as the controlling and approving authorites are exposed to negligence should incidents arise. The law is even clearer, they are to take reasonable care to avoid such incidents before the fact; Affordable Safety just does not bode well with the common law. This ruling in fact should empower any government body that to date believes they have been unable to act under the law, and enable them to take precautions to address the safety of life before they are deemed negligent.

Wind Turbine Policy

Wind turbines represent obstructions and physical hazards due to their sizes, aerodynamic nature, and the extend of their Wake Plumes. The towers, blade disks, infrastructure such as metrological observation towers, and the excessive turbulence and the velocity deficits that occur downstream in the Wake Plume being a void to flight, representing severe wind-shear and turbulence that has been found to disrupt aircraft control, are all very dangerous hazards in themselves. Couple this with the political emphasis for green power, carbon offsets, electricity credits, and other tax incentives, we now see a large proliferation of wind farm development; based on a new technology that has been outpacing the science and planning authorities alike, who have so far shown an utter disregard of the aviation safety aspects; exacerbating the danger to aviation in any given area.

Our policy towards wind farm placements near aviation infrastructure follows:

Proponents are to:

The things that the aviation industry need done immediately:

The subsequent things that need to be done: