08 May 2024
 | 08 May 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

Experimental Evaluation of Wind Turbine Wake Turbulence Impacts on a General Aviation Aircraft

Jonathan Rogers

Abstract. Continued development of wind farms near populated areas has led to rising concerns about the potential risk posed to general aviation aircraft when flying through wind turbine wakes. There is an absence of experimental flight test data available with which to assess this potential risk. This paper presents the results of an instrumented flight experiment in which a general aviation aircraft was flown through the wake of a utility-scale wind turbine at an operating wind farm. Wake passes were flown at different downwind distances from the turbine, and data was collected on the orientation disturbances, altitude and speed deviations, and acceleration loads experienced by the aircraft. Videos were also collected providing qualitative information about the disturbances encountered in the wake. Results show that flight disturbances were small in all cases, with no difference observed between flight data inside and outside the wake at distances greater than six rotor diameters from the turbine. Closer than six rotor diameters, small load factor and orientation disturbances were noted, but were commensurate with those experienced in light or moderate atmospheric turbulence. Overall, the loads and disturbances experienced were far smaller than those that would risk causing loss of control or structural damage.

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Jonathan Rogers

Status: open (until 06 Jun 2024)

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Jonathan Rogers
Jonathan Rogers


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Short summary
This paper describes the results of a flight experiment to assess the existence of potential safety risks to a general aviation aircraft from added turbulence in the wake of a wind turbine. A general aviation aircraft was flown through the wake of an operating wind turbine at different downwind distances. Results indicated that there were small increases in disturbances to the aircraft due to added turbulence in the wake but they never approached levels that would pose a safety risk.