Coming With The Wind

I always wondered why this poor pine tree at the farm gate was hopelessly leaning in an apocalyptic posture.

Now I know.

The weather report for today reads a 35 kms an hour wind, gusting 100. This has been going on mercilessly for a week now, with no sign of clemency anytime soon.

100 kms an hour, this is about 54 knots.

How to describe what a 54-knot breeze feels like when you are outside watching your roof slates jiggling?

Well, as a matter of comparison, the flaps-down stalling speed (Vs0) for a Cessna 172 Skyhawk is given at 48 knots CAS (Calibrated Air Speed). So theoretically speaking, if there was a constant 54-knot wind and you were crazy enough to ignore safety rules and operating manual instructions, you could land the plane vertically. Interesting, isn’t it? But more on flying later.

So, this is how powerful the wind can be in our area.

For sure, until the advent of fossil fuels, wind had always been the main source of energy to be reckoned with and harnessed.

Imagine pre-industrial revolution times without it.

There would have been no sailing ships and no Trafalgar for a start. We would all be writing in French.

And the Netherlands would be so “nether” as to not exist. Without “windmills”, there would have been no way to relentlessly pump the water back to the sea.

Windmills. They are indeed making a comeback in our lives in a big way as modern wind turbines. The French call them “éoliennes” from the Greek wind god Aeolus, as a testimony to the power and versatility of this natural form of energy.

From the farm, we can see quite a number of them that have blossomed over the years on the opposite plateau across the valley, altogether 12 at Rageade (24 MW) and 26 at Ally (39 MW) –

Prosperity is certainly coming with the wind. God Aeolus bless our wind turbines.