Small turbines help air traffic

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In what appears to be a first, wind power is now helping to keep air traffic moving smoothly in Central America. Two small Bergey wind turbines from the United States are the mainstay of communication between pilots and air traffic controllers in Belize. Now on-line in the interior of Belize on Mount Balding, the turbines are part of a hybrid system which powers radio contact but not the radar systems. It was previously powered by just a diesel generator. The set-up consists of two 10 kW turbines, made by Bergey Windpower Company Inc, down-graded to 7 kW apiece, and a back-up diesel generator. The turbines survived the high winds during Hurricane Mitch. Even though it virtually destroyed the economies of three Central American countries, Belize was not hit directly. Mike Bergey, of Bergey Windpower, says that on Mount Balding it was the equivalent of a tropical storm -- with wind speeds of 40-45 m/s.

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