A Colorado based company might build a 52-turbine wind farm about 20 miles east of Centralia , and that could impact a commonly used flight path for smaller airplanes moving between Seattle and Portland .
Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. of Broomfield, Colorado , has proposed building 52 of the 448-foot-tall turbines. Despite repeated requests for comment, Renewable Energy Systems did not respond to The Chronicle.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a letter titled Notice of Presumed Hazard on the project to Eric Wenger , of Renewable Energy Systems , saying the structures would "exceed obstruction standards and/or would have an adverse physical or electromagnetic interference effect upon navigable airspace or air navigation facilities."
The letter does not authorize construction, even at a reduced height. It says any resolution of the issues must be communicated to the FAA before they would be approved.
As is it currently stands, all of the proposed wind turbines would be in the radar line of sight and would cause unwanted returns and cluster out of SeaTac . However, air traffic control said it would not create an unacceptable impact, according to the letter.
John Roe , a pilot and vice president of the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 609 of Chehalis and the public relations representative for the Toledo Flying Club , said the turbines, as proposed, would "create a decided hazard to general aviation aircraft flying through the area."
According to Larry Mason , of the Toledo Airport , the turbines would be built on high ridgelines in a visual airway called Victor 23. The route is an 8-mile, low-altitude, visual flight airway that proceeds from Seattle to Portland at low altitude visual flight rules, about an 8-mile-wide flight path used mainly by light planes and smaller aircrafts.
"Flying a certain direction in visual flight rules, you fly even altitudes plus 500 feet, if the opposite direction you'd fly odd altitudes plus 500 feet," Mason said. "Some of these turbines would be up in the area where the airplane is flying."
Turbines in the project would affect airspace at up to 5,300 feet above sea level. The FAA said that number would have to be lowered to 3,091 to not affect the flight path.
To give comment about the project contact, the Southwest Regional Office of the FAA at (816) 329-2525 and refer to Aeronautical Study Number 2014-WTW-7568-OE.