Fatal report at Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog

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Germanischer Lloyd will revise and tighten its regulations for the testing of wind turbines following a fatal accident at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog wind turbine test facility in April (Windpower Monthly, May 1997) when a prototype 600 kW machine designed by Aerodyn Energiesysteme and built by Husumer Schiffswerft (HSW) ran out of control and fell apart. Bernard Richter of GL says there was no technical failure of the machine. "No component broke, nothing was switched wrongly." The accident was due to an unlucky sequence of events rather than human error, he comments. The active stall turbine was operating under test conditions -- the blades had been placed out of their normal position in winds of 12 m/s -- when the turbine was hit by a 33 m/s gust. This sent it out of control. Richter says 12 m/s is perhaps a little high for carrying out such tests. "But it was a human response to want to finish the work," he observes. The planned changes to the GL regulations should be ready by October, Richter adds. Meanwhile the Itzehoe Public Prosecutor's office has completed its inquiry into the accident. Joachim Bestmann of the office says investigations were stopped at the beginning of June when it was clear that HSW could not have foreseen the accident. "The sudden squall could hardly have been predicted by the company," he says.

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