The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

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The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby Zep Tepi » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:19 pm

Here we go again. The Sun newspaper has a story claiming "UFO Hits Wind Turbine" splashed across the front page. That's right, the front page. The Online version of the tabloid claims "Missing Blade Riddle", along with the headline "E.T. Farm Harm" and "4am Prang at 300ft." Oh dear.

Here is the text in full, followed by an explanation as to why, yet again, The Sun have got it wrong.

"A WIND turbine stood wrecked yesterday with one of its giant 65ft blades torn off — after it was hit by a UFO.

Locals were woken by the 4am smash after strange lights were spotted streaking towards the 290ft-tall generator on a wind farm.

Baffled power chiefs said of the smash in Conisholme, Lincs: “We have a team investigating.” There was no trace of the missing blade. A UFO expert said: “We are very excited.”

A woman motorist told how she saw a UFO zoom towards the wind farm and strike the 290ft turbine.

Dorothy Willows — who lives half a mile from the scene of the hit-and-run — was in her car when “strange lights” loomed in the evening sky.

She was among dozens who spotted the mysterious flashing orangey-yellow spheres over Lincolnshire — where the turbine was left wrecked. Dorothy, of Louth, said: “The lights were moving across the sky towards the wind farm. Then I saw a low flying object. It was skimming across the sky towards the turbines.”

Hours later there was an almighty smash.

Dorothy said: “My husband Stephen was woken at 4am by the bang.”

Afterwards there was no trace of one of the turbine’s three huge 65ft blades — ripped off in the collision.

Another was left twisted and useless. Other locals told how the lights looked like balls of flames. Lesley Whittingham, 71, even managed to photograph it — and said: “It looked like a giant explosion in the air.”

John Harrison, another witness, described how he looked out of his landing window and saw a “massive ball of light with tentacles going right down to the ground” over the wind farm. He said: “It was huge. With the tentacles it looked just like an octopus.”

The object that struck the turbine at Conisholme near Louth on Sunday dodged others surrounding it — and last night experts had no explanation for what it was. There were NO reports of any aircraft collisions.

Council health and safety officials said even the strongest gale was unlikely to be responsible.

The damage was described by the Health and Safety Executive as a “unique incident”.

Wind farm company Ecotricity admitted: “We don’t know what caused the problem. We are investigating.”

UFO expert Russ Kellett, of Flying Saucer Review, told how dozens of reports of mystery objects poured in before the crash.

He said: “Balls of light were seen in the sky and the MoD has no explanation. We are very, very excited about this.”

Last night the incident was the talk of the internet. It was dubbed the “Octopus UFO” because of the tentacles and how the lights appeared joined in formation.

The MoD said of the latest scare: “Unless there is evidence of a potential threat, there is no attempt to identify the nature of each sighting.”


Before we delve into the probable actual reason for the damage to the wind turbine, let's have a quick examination of the article above.

"Locals were woken by the 4am smash after strange lights were spotted streaking towards the 290ft-tall generator on a wind farm."


Those "streaking lights" were nothing more than Chinese Lanterns floating in the night sky. BBC Look North showed video of the said lights and it is pretty obvious what they were. Orange, slow moving lights. Yup.

"Baffled power chiefs said of the smash in Conisholme, Lincs: “We have a team investigating.” There was no trace of the missing blade."


Wrong. The missing blade was right there on the ground, beneath the tower.

"A UFO expert said: “We are very excited.”


Sorry, I laughed out loud at that one. Is grass green?

A woman motorist told how she saw a UFO zoom towards the wind farm and strike the 290ft turbine.

Dorothy Willows — who lives half a mile from the scene of the hit-and-run — was in her car when “strange lights” loomed in the evening sky.

She was among dozens who spotted the mysterious flashing orangey-yellow spheres over Lincolnshire — where the turbine was left wrecked. Dorothy, of Louth, said: “The lights were moving across the sky towards the wind farm. Then I saw a low flying object. It was skimming across the sky towards the turbines.”

Hours later there was an almighty smash.


Did you catch that? The motorist saw "mysterious flashing orangey-yellow spheres" (that would the lanterns btw) moving (not streaking) across the sky. Then she saw a low flying object skimming aross the sky. That could have been anything, from a helicopter to a jet but is not important to the actual event because of what she then said:

"Hours later there was an almighty smash"

If anyone could explain to me how hearing an almighty smash hours after spotting lights in the sky equates to seeing "a UFO zoom towards the wind farm and strike the 290ft turbine", I'm dying to hear it.

Afterwards there was no trace of one of the turbine’s three huge 65ft blades — ripped off in the collision.


Like I wrote above, they should have looked a little harder, it was right there all along.

John Harrison, another witness, described how he looked out of his landing window and saw a “massive ball of light with tentacles going right down to the ground” over the wind farm. He said: “It was huge. With the tentacles it looked just like an octopus.”


Okaaaaaaaay! Sounds like a typical Sun "witness" to me...

UFO expert Russ Kellett, of Flying Saucer Review, told how dozens of reports of mystery objects poured in before the crash.

He said: “Balls of light were seen in the sky and the MoD has no explanation. We are very, very excited about this.”


Quite why the MOD needs to have an explanation for dozens of chinese lanterns being released around the time of the New Year celebrations is anyones guess! Most of the reports involving lights in the sky are from two days before the incident occured, not that you would find that fact reported on in the Sun, of course.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many other news outlets have picked up on the story and are posting almost verbatim from the Sun article. The BBC do have a little more information, including an interesting comment from Dale Vince, the founder of Ecotricity - the company behind the wind turbines:

"Until we have some idea, some plausible explanation that it was not a UFO, I don't think we should rule it out".


Now why would the man responsible for the safety and security of those wind turbines not want the ridiculous UFO explanation ruling out? To steer speculation away from the fact it could possibly be down to poor maintenance or shoddy design, perhaps? Who knows...

Maybe Fraser McLachlan, chief executive of Wind Turbine Insurers GCube, has a more plausible explanation.

Source
The mysterious severance of a wind turbine blade may have been caused by a mechanical failure, an expert has said.
...
Fraser McLachlan, chief executive of GCube, which insures more than 25,000 wind turbines worldwide, said that although it is unusual, this type of incident happens about five or six times a year.

"It does happen that a blade will sometimes just come off a machine for one reason or another," he said.

"The main reason is the blade may shear."

"We don't normally see things like aircraft - or UFOs - hitting them. It's usually a mechanical failure that causes the blade to separate from the main hub."

The freezing weather was another possible cause of the breakage, he said, adding that it could cost up to £250,000 to repair.


National Wind Watch, who describe themselves as "a coalition of groups and individuals working to save rural and wild places from heedless industrial wind energy development", are also much more down to earth in their assessment of the incident:

One of the turbines operated by Ecotricity at Conisholme (NE Lincolnshire) suffered a catastrophic structural failure in freezing conditions during the night of January 3rd/4th. Two huge blades were severely damaged after apparently making contact with the tower. One blade has fallen to the ground only after shedding large pieces of debris from height and over a wide area. The base of the tower shows signs of a major impact as the blade smashed through the entrance structure at ground level before rolling into the neighbouring field. During sub-zero temperatures, this accident, combined with the recent “ice shedding” incident at Whittlesey and the subsequent shut down of the turbine there, is raising concerns over safety and design.

...

This is further evidence (if it were needed) that the x8 130metre high turbines proposed for Baumber (41 metres taller than those at Conisholme) will be sited too close to homes and the public highway. Similar increasingly common structural failures or shedding of debris or ice would pose unacceptable dangers to local people and a critical danger to motorists.


Visit the link above for more and a selection of photos from the incident.

Once again, we ask ourselves why The Sun find it neccessary to pollute their news stories with bogus facts and nonsensical quotes. I can't say it comes as a surprise, but their cavalier attitude to reporting the news is fast becoming breathtaking in its stupidity.

And we wonder why so many people are quick to jump on the "They are here!" bandwagon?

Shameful.

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Steve
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby Zep Tepi » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:35 pm

Look what can happen when these things fail. Wow!

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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby ryguy » Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:41 pm

Awesome writeup Steve! Well done as usual.

I'd like to refer the news reporters to this When Wind Turbines Explode

The first clue is the explosion with arcs (which the witness calls "tentacles") reaching down to the ground. A lot of wind turbines around the world have mechanical failures with the braking mechanism and start to ramp up uncontrolled. Meanwhile (these things are hooked to electrical generators, remember), continue generating electricity proportional to mechanical motion (kinetic to electrical).

A lot of weird and wild things happen when a wind turbine turns that fast. It can either mechanically break apart when one of the props brakes off first and the whole machine breaks apart, or a mechanical short inside could potentially create a ground/fault or conditions that could potentially create such an electrical explosion as described. Manufacturing facilities require electricians to wear PPE when working in live cabinets that protect them from the sort of burns you can get from an arc flash explosion - the likes of which most people reading this couldn't even imagine. The fireball that erupts from those is unbelievable. The fact that there were "arms" of the explosion reaching to ground tells me that the explosion itself was electrical in nature.

Seems that the company has a bit of explaining to do for the poor design - blaming it on the aliens ain't gonna cut it...lol

**edit to add** - you beat me to the video. :)
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby Access Denied » Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:14 pm

Excellent analysis Steve, it never ceases to amaze me how easily something most likely perfectly mundane (two unrelated events in this case) can become confabulated beyond all recognition… I wonder if that had anything to do with the “UFO expert”? ;)

This appears to be another clue…

The object that struck the turbine at Conisholme near Louth on Sunday dodged others surrounding it — and last night experts had no explanation for what it was. There were NO reports of any aircraft collisions.

Another teenage alien out on a joy ride?

“Hey Zork, I dare you to fly through those wind turbines over there without getting hit!”

“OK watch this…”

[famous last words]

“…Oh Sh*t!”


I like Nick Pope’s comment…

MyView
By Nick Pope
UFO expert
THIS could be one of the most significant UFO incidents for years.

If something collided with the wind turbine — as seems certain — there may be residue on the damaged parts that could help solve this mystery.

In the last few months there have been two near-collisions between UFOs and police helicopters — and now this.

There’s a public safety issue here, whatever you believe about UFOs.

The Ministry of Defence’s standard line on UFOs isn’t good enough. The MoD and the Civil Aviation Authority need to investigate as a matter of urgency.

What a dork... can you say drama queen? :roll:

So where's the photo the article mentions?
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby Yex » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:19 pm

This is the pic from the "Soaraway Sun" Newspaper



Image



apparently little to no wind that night, so still a bit of a mystery :)
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby MrPenny » Thu Jan 08, 2009 8:57 pm

No mystery in the photo at all....that's a "sun dog". A relatively common atmospheric occurrence.
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby Yex » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:02 pm

Agreed about the sundog, the mystery being if it ain`t spinning, there can be no catastrophic destruction of the blades, can there?
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby MrPenny » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:17 pm

Forgive me....I misunderstood your post. Those very large turbines are subject to a lot of stress....it doesn't take much to disrupt their balance. I've seen a video of one of those simply disintegrating due to the "governor" or brakes failing and allowing the blades to accelerate to failure.
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby GigaShadow » Thu Jan 08, 2009 10:44 pm

I wouldn't totally exclude information from the British rags. Information comes in bits and pieces for critical readers seeking the truth to connect the facts. That wind turbine looks as though something produced a concussion effect where 1 blade was severed and another blade was warped by either heat or possibly ultra sonic sound. I seen turbines torn apart by high wind cavitation when the braking system goes out and all three blades show either breakage or damage. Looks like the turbine has 1 blade fully intact.
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby longhaircowboy » Thu Jan 08, 2009 11:13 pm

I saw the video and it's quite obvious the mysteries solved. Amazing how the Brits let a few lanterns get them excited. And Nick Pope is truley clueless.
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby Access Denied » Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:00 am

Yex wrote:This is the pic from the "Soaraway Sun" Newspaper

Thanks, silly me did a search on "Soaraway Sun" [you know from the town of Soaraway lol] to try and find the article you found that in to see if there was any more info [this happened at night right so why is the photo in daylight?] only to find out that "Soaraway Sun" jokingly refers to the Sun... and I still couldn't find the picture.

Yex wrote:apparently little to no wind that night, so still a bit of a mystery :)

Well, that blows [ha ha] my joy ride hypothesis out of the water.
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby ryguy » Fri Jan 09, 2009 2:53 pm

GigaShadow wrote:That wind turbine looks as though something produced a concussion effect where 1 blade was severed and another blade was warped by either heat or possibly ultra sonic sound. I seen turbines torn apart by high wind cavitation when the braking system goes out and all three blades show either breakage or damage. Looks like the turbine has 1 blade fully intact.


I agree - that's why I believe that in this case the failure of the braking system resulted in a major electrical malfunction (producing an arc-flash explosion) before there was ever a mechanical breakdown. I've seen videos of arc-flash explosions reaching 10 feet or more in diameter, with temperatures and forces that can easily cause the sort of damage this turbine received. What a lot of folks untrained in the electrical industry don't realize is that when there's a short at the high-power end of a power system, potentially shorting out a transformer for example - even the lower 120vac end of a circuit is susceptible to serious problems and damage.

By the way - very little wind is needed for loss of braking to trigger a runaway turbine. It's not the wind that's causing the run-away condition...it's the way the system works that induces a quick acceleration even when just the generator or power system fails.

Cool Google Book on the subject.

During the periods of extremely high winds, wind turbines should be completely stopped for its safety. Similarly, if the power line fails or the generator is disconnected due to some reason or other, the wind turbine would rapidly accelerate. This leads the turbine to run-away condition within a few seconds.


That's an OR statement. High winds can cause the initial kick into runaway conditions, but the run-away condition itself has nothing to do with wind, it a resulting condition of system failure (wind is only one cause). It can also be caused by a power line failure and/or disconnected generator in low/no-wind conditions.

It's the same principle as feedback in a sound system. Have you ever heard that loud "screeeech" when a microphone gets too close to a speaker? That's the because the speaker sound enters the mic, which is amplified by the mic and out the speaker...which goes into the mic and out of the speaker....etc... When that happens the loud "hum" you hear goes from a low tone to a horrible high screech as the sound wave "runs away" in amplification.

Ugh...why did I ever get into electrical engineering...this crap is so boring...lol.

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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby ryguy » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:27 pm

Here's another great explanation from a hydro power company...notice the issue isn't "water flow." It's important to understand how generators, that are based on electromagnetic principles that can seem confusing to folks, works....

Pay attention to zero load and dead short conditions in particular.

Emergency System Shutdown

An emergency shutdown system is an option that protects the system from overspeed, which may damage the generator. For example, if a tree falls over a power line, it may cause either a dead short (an extremely high load on the generator) or an open line (zero load) which would cause generator runaway. (A dead short may also cause runaway if it trips a breaker.) Any of these conditions are both dangerous and expensive, so an emergency shutdown system is a wise investment.
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Re: The Sun are at it again - UFO Hits Wind Turbine

Postby ryguy » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:32 pm

Yex wrote:apparently little to no wind that night, so still a bit of a mystery :)


No mystery at all - and the company that produces the wind turbines knows it.
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