EMS transport near wind turbines
(Posted February 19, 2008)
A retired EMS pilot in Wisconsin was interviewed by the Calumet County ad hoc committee regarding emergency medical transport within the vicinity of industrial wind turbines. The pilot substantiates several warnings including:
- EMS pilots will most likely not land anywhere in the County where turbines are located;
- Pilots require a minimum of 500 feet above a known object to fly safely over it. If an object is 500 feet tall, an EMS helicopter would need to be 1,000 feet to fly over it, thus limiting flights to days when there is a cloud ceiling of 1,000 feet or greater;
- FAA lighting on turbines calls for lights at the top of the tower with unlit blades extending 100 to 200 feet beyond. It would be impossible to make a safe passage through an area where there could be 50 or 100 turbines.
Ms. Ann Younger-Crandall, program manager for ThedaStar Air Medical in Wisconsin indirectly confirmed some of these warning in her Dec 8, 2007 letter to the local paper, but ends with assurances that "no one in Calumet County should be denied air medical transport because of the construction of wind turbines within the county." Ms. Younger-Crandall's use of the word "should" is interesting, but unconvincing. As the pilot stated in his interview, "Do you want to be the one who has to tell the parents why their child is going to die? Because you can't fly into an area anymore to safely pick them up."