Military officials warned this week that building the proposed Pantego Wind project in eastern North Carolina would create an unavoidable collision hazard for fighter jets, a development that would force Seymour Johnson Air Force Base to deploy flight training to other states.
The warning from Seymour Johnson officials is the strongest message yet that the Pantego wind project, whose blade tips would extend nearly 500 feet into the air, is incompatible with surrounding military usage of air space. Relocating near-daily training runs for F-15E Strike Eagle jets would undermine the core mission of the air base and pose a threat to Goldsboro and other local communities that depend on the military for their economic lifeblood.
Seymour Johnson officials this week presented their conclusions to a Department of Defense panel that's reviewing the wind farm proposal's potential interference with military activities. The Pantego wind farm, proposed by Chicago-based Invenergy on 11,000 acres in Beaufort County, must receive clearance from the panel, known as the DOD Siting Clearinghouse, to move forward with construction plans.
"There is no other suitable and available airspace within range of Seymour Johnson AFB that could be used for this training," the air base's officials wrote in a report.