2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6, Page #16[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Windmill School Teaches Tricks Of The Trade
“It’s the only one like this that I know of in the country, and we get students from all over,” says Rosencrans, who normally teaches agricultural mechanics to ag education majors. “Our biggest clientele are crews of Native Americans working on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. They may have several hundred windmills to maintain on a single reservation.”
Other class members include ranch hands from New Mexico and surrounding states charged with keeping windmills operating. Some class members have started their own businesses working with windmills, while others have gone to small communities in Africa and South America to build windmills that provide the first fresh water there. Some are just interested in windmills and go on to install their own.
Some of those like Robert Preston (accompanying story) come back to share their experiences. Representatives of several sponsoring windmill companies, including Aermotor, take part as instructors and supply equipment for the class. Aermotor provides mills/motors for hands-on class work.
“We cover submersible pumps and solar powered pumps the afternoon of the first day,” explains Rosencrans. “The next morning covers safety, including climbing terminology, how a windmill protects itself in high winds, and how leathers lift water versus pumping.”
In the afternoon of the second day, the class goes into the shop to disassemble, repair and put motors back together. The following day is about work in the field.
“Fieldwork gives the class a realistic application of skills,” says Rosencrans. “If we don’t have enough to work on in the community, we have about 10 windmills on campus. However, since they don’t get daily use, they don’t always show wear.”
Work on towers includes assembly and raising with a crane when available. Rosencrans says the class works mostly with 27 to 30-ft. towers and sucker rod in 20-ft. lengths.
The class has been offered yearly for more than 30 years. Maximum attendance is 25. A $200 registration fee is charged to help cover tools and to pay for outside instructors. Rosencrans says their expertise is vital.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dr. Carlos Rosencrans, 100 Gerald Thomas Hall, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003 (ph 575 646-4511; mobile 575 649-7946; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.aces.nmsu.edu/academics/axed/2014-windmill-workshop-.html).
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