Airports and nearby wind turbines just do not mix.
That is what the Norfolk Airport Authority said Monday night in response to an aeronautical study that declared “no hazard to air navigation” in relation to a group of 165 wind turbines, some of which are less than seven miles from the Norfolk Regional Airport. The turbines each stand 499 feet tall and range in distance from 6.9 miles to 18.6 miles from the airport.
The authority responded to the study by voting to send a letter reiterating its opposition to wind turbines within 10 miles of the airport.
“Pilots coming into our airports just don’t like to have obstructions around,” said Dan Geary, chairman of the Norfolk Airport Authority. “A couple of years ago, when this issue of wind turbines was coming up, the Nebraska Legislature gave us a 10-mile radius off the end our airport that is protected from this kind of stuff. Otherwise, our jurisdiction only went out to three miles.”
Geary said the nearby turbines would be a navigation hazard to incoming pilots.
“If you’ve ever gone by them driving on the road, you see all the red lights flashing out there,” Geary said. “It would be hard to find a runway or an airport in the middle of something like that or at the edge of something like that. An airport is off by itself (and) lit in a particular way. ... Airports have their own typical lighting and we just don’t like to have navigation hazards around us.”