Record Hill Wind LLC's (Record Hill Wind) wind farm near Rumford in Maine, has been opposed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As per FAA, 13 of 22 turbines are over height limits. They are also close to a hospital helipad. That pad is a hair over 7.5 nautical miles away from Record Hill Wind’s project. FAA's Air Traffic Airspace Branch in a study indicated that the project's 420-foot high wind turbines may also create electromagnetic inference that could affect communications.
Navigations may also get affected because of the same reason. The turbines could be approved by FAA only when the height is reduced as per specification.
We’re a little baffled as to what’s behind this, Rob Gardiner, principal investor behind the company said. We understand that there is some sort of an issue of somebody having raised a flag, but we cannot see how it can possibly become an impediment.
There’s no reason that a helicopter, which is the only kind of aircraft that can land at that facility, needs a 6- or 7-mile safety zone when it overshoots its target, Gardiner added. That just doesn’t make sense.
Gardiner further continued that a similar, competing wind farm project is much closer to Rumford Hospital than his project is. It also doesn’t make sense when Black Mountain is half of that distance. Black Mountain is a much more serious impediment than we would be, Gardiner said.
The hypothesis may be that they think it’s an airplane landing strip and not a helicopter pad. Gardiner said of the FAA.
We are treating this seriously because this is a federal agency, Gardiner said, but we don’t see that there’s any real chance that there is an insurmountable problem here. It just seems that it’s based on some misunderstanding.
Gardiner said that LifeFlight of Maine, sole user of the hospital helipad, had said in the past that the wind farm would not pose any problems for its operation.