November 18, 2010
By Dan Namowitz
AOPA is encouraging users of the Great Falls (Mont.) International Airport to contact officials for a briefing on proposed wind turbine construction at the airport.
The Montana Air National Guard is proposing to install one 133-foot-tall wind turbine, possible to be followed to as many as eight more, to comply with federal legislation requiring that not less than 7.5 percent of the electricity used by federal agencies come from renewable energy sources by fiscal year 2013.
AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer J.C. Kantorowicz is working to schedule a meeting for airport users to discuss the project with the Montana Air National Guard.
In studies, the FAA has identified three areas of concern ranging from ice hazards from the turbine blades to radar shadowing of the nearby National Weather Service radar site, and the potential impact of the towers on current and proposed instrument approaches. The Montana Air National Guard and its engineering consultants are evaluating the FAA’s concerns.
The proposed turbines do not penetrate any of the obstruction surfaces at the airport, and must be constructed on Montana Air National Guard leasehold property according to federal guidelines, said John L. Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy.
The airport’s administration has expressed concern with possible implications of turbines for a proposed approach to Runway 34.
Pilots seeking immediate information should contact Montana Air National Guard Deputy Base Civil Engineer First Lt. Kenneth Fechter, at 406/791-0516. Fechter has informed AOPA that he will be pleased to explain the Montana Air National Guard's project to pilots.
Users who wish to comment to the FAA about the possible impact of the turbines can contact Gary Gates, community planner, Airport District Office, Federal Aviation Administration, 2725 Skyway Drive, Suite 2, Helena, MT 59602, and the Great Falls International Airport Authority, 2800 Terminal Drive, Great Falls, MT 59404.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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