A South Dakota Wind Farm claimed four lives yesterday when the pilot flew into the turbines in bad weather. The pilot hit the wind farm at Sioux Falls, (Full story here) one of Nextera Windfarms, well known through out the US and Canada as Next Terror. Conditions were foggy at the time and it was thought the pilot was flying in conditions outside his certification. However weather does change en route and it is usual for non instrument rated pilots to try and fly under the weather. What is not a great help is 500ft high wind farms peppering the area. On a recent Helicopter Hero stories it was pointed out that a wind farm had been recently built and not notified to the mapping authorities. Even when that is done it relies on NOTAMs (notice to airmen)to be sent out and maps updated in advance of the main bi-annual release of maps. Flying is a safe mode of transport but there are certain dangers, mostly mitigated through training and procedures. However when things go wrong, they go badly wrong. Putting structures, especially masts, in the countryside where they may be least expected, is really a rather silly thing to do. It is a bit like sinking ships in a shipping lane. Only a fool would think it a great idea.
A sequel to this is later news that one of the casualties was not in the aircraft but on the ground.