Brightsource But Bad Idea?

BrghtsourceWe’ve reported before about the Ivanpah Brightsource solar power facility in the California desert near Las Vegas that is frying birds wholesale and blinding pilots.  A Power Line informant passes along this notice to pilots from the airline pilots association:

Blinded by the Light? Report It to the FAA!

Have you seen a flash of bright light from the ground while flying near Las Vegas—in the daytime? If so, the FAA would like you to file ASAP and NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) reports. The issue is not lasers; it’s sunlight, very concentrated sunlight. The flash is likely originating from the Ivanpah Solar Power plant located about 35 NM south of Las Vegas. Ivanpah, which occupies approximately 3,500 acres near the California–Nevada state line, is a solar power plant with roughly 175,000 mirrors surrounding each of three collection towers. These collection towers use a new technology that can create a solar glare because some of the reflected sunlight goes well beyond the tower.

Since the facility began operation last year, reports of distracting illumination have been received from aircraft flying as high as FL380. Solar power plant glare may injure pilots’ and passengers’ eyes and may cause flash blindness or cockpit illumination. Due to the nature of the installation, solar power plant glare can occur in any quadrant during the day, and may be seen from a considerable distance.

Both Los Angeles Center and Las Vegas TRACON are aware of the glare problem. The FAA has published two NOTAMs concerning the glare issue and is requesting that all pilots who experience the solar glare advise ATC immediately and submit an ASAP report to your company and NASA ASRS.

Here’s the FAA notice:

FDC 4/1273 ZLA CA.AIRSPACE Ivanpah Dry Lake, CA. Solar power plant glare the Las Vegas / LAS / VORTAC 193 radial 36 nautical miles to the Las Vegas / LAS / VORTAC 189 radial 34 nautical miles. This plant covers approximately 3,500 acres west of interstate highway 15 near the California-Nevada state line with roughly 175,000 mirrors surrounding each of three collection towers. These towers employ a new technology that has not been utilized at this level before, creating a solar glare effect in the aircraft. Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and Las Vegas Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) began receiving numerous pilot reports of glare associated with the power plant since the facility began production. To appropriately document these conditions, pilots and other air crew members are urged to utilize NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) and provide an electronic report submission (ers) via the web at Solar power plant glare may be injurious to pilots’/ passengers’ eyes from surface to unlimited altitude from glare source. Flash blindness or cockpit illumination may occur. Los Angeles ARTCC (ZLA) telephone 661-265-8205 is the FAA coordination facility. 1406201945-1412310600EST

Here’s an idea: Let’s stick to natural gas for electricity.


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