Aviation body rejects claims mast is source of danger to planes

Claims a controversial wind- monitoring mast was a likely source of danger to planes using Kerry Airport have been rejected by the Irish Aviation Authority.

The assurance came after Kerry County Council came under fire from the regional airport for granting planning permission for the retention of the 80m-high mast. It is on the site of a proposed wind farm, near Brosna.

The airport manager Peter Moore had warned the mast remained a risk.

However, the IAA said yesterday the mast did not constitute a safety risk to normal aircraft operations.

But specialist aircraft that calibrate the navigation aids at Kerry Airport may need to amend their flight procedures to take the mast into account, said an IAA spokesman.

In a letter to the council, 10 days before the planning decision was confirmed, Mr Moore said the mast was in a critical area of approach and posed a danger to air navigation.

He said pilot error could result in a plane crashing into the mast with potentially ‘disastrous’ consequences.

Mr Moore said the mast, which has no warning light, is also a danger to specialised aircraft required to calibrate, twice yearly, Kerry Airport’s four computerised approach guidance systems. He said the height of the mast meant the calibration aircraft did not have sufficient clearance to carry out its run.

On one occasion in 2010, he said, the calibration flight almost collided with the mast.

However, the council has said the mast created no increased risk to aviation and it had not received a negative submission from relevant aviation bodies to which the planning file had been referred.

One of the conditions of planning is that warning lights should be fitted to the mast, if necessary, in accordance with the IAA.


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