NAAA is concerned the placement of wind turbines and other towers on arable farmland make it difficult and dangerous, if not impossible, to treat cropland in and around their vicinity for larger ag aircraft. These towers’ presence can restrict and, in many cases, eliminate the option of  larger and faster forms of ag aircraft to be used in aerial application that are government tested for efficacy and drift, and are instrumental in treating large plots of cropland to quickly nourish crops and eradicate the pest pressures they face. NAAA encourages anyone considering leasing their cropland for towers used for wind energy, communications or other uses to think seriously about the potential upsides and downsides to farmers and these aerial applicators before signing an agreement.

NAAA, state agricultural aviation associations and their memberships have been advocating for responsible zoning of wind farms. The expansion of wind energy across the U.S. has also driven a sharp increase in the deployment of Meteorological Evaluation Towers (METs) for surveying potential wind farm sites as well as those within operational wind farms.

Here are some communications on this topic from the last several years:

Learn Before You Lease

These ads, made for co-branding with operators and state associations, are offered by NAAA to aid local advocacy efforts. Ensure landowners have all the facts prior to wind farm siting and make the public aware of the hazard created to your safety.

Broadsheet Sizes

1/4 pg vertical 7.25 x 11ColorBlack & White
Jr. pg vertical 11×18ColorBlack & White
1/2 pg horizontal 14.5 x 11ColorBlack & White

Tabloid Sizes

1/2 pg horizontal 10 x 6.875ColorBlack & White
1/4 pg vertical 4.875 x 6.875ColorBlack & White
Island vertical 7.5 x 10ColorBlack & White

Radio Scripts

Use NAAA’s “ready to read” scripts to record your own radio spot for airing in your local market.

NAAA has developed useful information to refute proposed set back distances from wind turbines and other tower-like obstructions. The information may be used by operators and state associations when dealing with wind farm and tower companies making claims that their obstructions do not hamper aerial application activities to crops. The basis for needing the information was a request from a public utilities commission to provide proof that agricultural aircraft need 1 mile or more to turn around safely at the end of a treated field. A wind farm sponsor in South Dakoka had proposed a setback of a mere 500 feet, which is far too short a distance for making safe aerial applications in a field adjacent to a wind turbine or tower location site with a fixed-wing aircraft. NAAA provided the information using two different methods.

Method 1: Using aircraft speed and average turn time to estimate the total distance required to make a turn.

An AT-802A with a working speed of 145 mph was used as the example aircraft. The working speed was taken from the midpoint between 130 and 160 mph as denoted on Air Tractor’s specifications page for the AT-802A. An agricultural turn time of 45 seconds was used; this information was gleamed from operators’ experience and used in comments made to EPA on several pesticide re-registrations. A speed of 145 mph is equal to 213 feet per second; 45 seconds to turn multiplied by 213 feet per second means that 9,585 feet is needed for the turn, or…

1.82 miles

Method 2: GPS as-applied aerial application maps and Google Earth

Google Earth was used to measure the distance into the field that two turns required. The first was one of the shorter turns from the application from when the aircraft was lighter. This turn pushed 2,273 feet or 0.43 miles into the adjacent field. The second was from a longer turn made when the aircraft was fully loaded. This turn penetrated 9,147 feet into the adjacent field, or…

1.73 miles

A Google Earth map showing an application made by an AT-802A. Green represents the flight path spray on, while red represent the flight path with spray off. The yellow line is the ruler tool used to measure the total length into the field a longer turn required: 9,147 feet (1.73 miles).

METs are structures erected to verify the wind conditions at prospective and operational wind farm sites. They are typically between 50-199 feet tall and 12 inches or less in diameter. Many are erected only temporarily to test sites for wind farm suitability. As of 2018, and in-part due to NAAA and state agricultural aviation association advocacy, METs and their supporting guy wires are required to be both marked and logged with the FAA. They pose a unique risk to aerial applicators, as they can be erected in what was a familiar field in a very short period of time. In addition, METs placed within operational wind farms can be difficult to spot as an aerial applicator is focused on avoiding the wind turbines themselves.

The above is not intended for publication. NAAA requests that should any party desire to publish, distribute or quote any part that they first seek the permission of the Association.