Testimony concludes at Clearview appeal: aviation safety reduced



A small plane lands at the Chatham-Kent airport. "Reduced" safety at Collingwood
A small plane lands at the Chatham-Kent airport. “Reduced” safety at Collingwood

Even the expert witness for the power developer admits there would be “reduced” safety for pilots using the Collingwood Regional Airport if the wind power project is built.

Simcoe.com, June 6, 2016

By Ian Adams

A tribunal hearing an appeal of the province’s decision to approve an wind turbine project in Clearview Township has moved on to the next phase of the process.

The final witness on Friday, aviation expert Ed McDonald, told the tribunal the eight turbines proposed for an area north and south of County Road 91 would have “no incremental impact on departure procedures” at the Collingwood Regional Airport.

The Town of Collingwood, Simcoe County, and Clearview Township are among six appellants to the project, on the basis several of the turbines could pose a danger to pilots flying into and out of the regional airport.

However, McDonald, testifying on behalf of WPD Canada, told the tribunal that approach procedures at the airport could be modified in order to mitigate the presence of the proposed 500-foot turbines.

“I hope to put to bed that the turbines put into the area would not allow access to the airport,” he testified. “It just has to be mitigated.”

That would include moving a waypoint used by pilots flying under Instrument Flight Rules, moving the ‘circuit’ used by student pilots from the south of the airport to the north of the airport, and essentially creating a ‘no-go’ zone south-east of the airport where the turbines would be located.

However, he acknowledged that “one turbine becomes a factor” in the case of the privately-owned Stayner Aerodrome on County Road 91.

“There is a negative impact, and there’s nothing we can do about that,” McDonald testified, adding there are other obstructions to that aerodrome, such as trees and buildings, that a pilot flying in and out “would have to be very skilled.”

McDonald said modifying approach and take-off procedures at Stayner Aerodrome, however, would mitigate the presence of the turbines.

On Thursday, another WPD expert witness, risk assessment consultant Dr. Raymond Cox testified that an aircraft in the area of the turbines experiencing one of several issues, such as mechanical failure or pilot fatigue, and flying at the same level as the turbines “would likely impact the ground in any event.

“If (a pilot) is in a situation where they have run out of fuel, have a mechanical mishap, and they’re at (500 feet), they are in a dire situation,” Cox told the tribunal via Skype from his home in England. “If you’re in a car and you go over a cliff and don’t hit a boulder, you will hit something else.”

Cox also testified that any turbulence coming from the turbines would have a negligible effect on planes flying a distance equal to the diameter of five rotor blades.

However, under cross-examination by Collingwood and Simcoe County counsel Julie Abouchar, Cox acknowledged that under certain circumstances a pilot could make it to the airport should there be an issue.

“So, if the turbines are between an airplane and the airport, his or her options for a safe landing would be reduced,” Abouchar questioned the witness.

“Yes,” Cox responded. …

Read the full story here.


Gord Schneider

Those turbines are 500 feet high and they create turbulence. Trees are rarely that high; same goes for any building close to the airport. What doesn’t this ‘expert’ not understand?


“Trees are rarely that high”

The tallest tree in Ontario is a White Pine: 150 feet.

Ed McDonald is a paid wind hack.


As a former pilot, I can tell you first hand that the problem isn’t the normal approaches – they can probably be adjusted to be “safe”, although not as “safe” as before. The problem is when your fuel is getting low, the weather is crummy, you’re flying VFR (visually), you are tired, coming into an airport for the very first time from a direction you’ve never approached it before. You’ve already got enough to handle and you don’t need one more complication.


Thanks for this comment. I appreciate your common sense.

You must be wondering why on earth the push is so hard from the wind company and this government to site these turbines as they have planned.
I can’t even figure out why they would ruin one of the most beautiful vistas and tourist destinations in Ontario with these industrial scale turbines? We’re up against sheer madness.

Pat Cusack

You should have been present when Wainfleet was fighting two turbines in the way of a first-class jump site. Needless to say, the turbines won. Don’t know if the parachute club struck a deal with the people operating those two turbines since it is still in business and no incidents yet. Sheer madness is right Sommer. Another stressor in our lives today. I said it once and I’ll say again, what’s with the people in government who are in charge of lives? Not a care for what’s right and just. The system stinks.

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