Try making this right turn dragging 196-foot wind turbine blade

Commentary: It was the video that mesmerized millions last week and the transport company has to make the astonishing turn almost 200 times.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


This isn't going to work. Or is it?

Nooteboom Trailers/Facebook screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Where there are open spaces, we take wind turbines for granted.

Amazon puts enormous wind farms in the wide-open spaces of Texas, and we assume there was no problem getting them there. 

Sometimes, though, things are a little different. 

A video posted last week to Facebook showed Scottish transport company McFadyens trying to maneuver a 198-foot wind turbine blade on a trailer around a 90-degree turn on a tiny road in the Scottish Highlands.

The world was mesmerized. More than 4 million people have watched it. Praise for the driver and his companions was enormous. 

How could he not only get it round the bend, but also actually keep the truck in the right lane (or the left lane, as they call it in the UK)?

How was it possible that it missed hitting something by seeming inches? It slowly edged around a corner whose designers had surely never envisaged such a vast machine's mission.

So I contacted McFadyen's owner Charles McFadyen and wondered how much practice such a maneuver might involve.

See how Mcfadyens from Scotland makes a 90 degrees right turn with a 60 metres blade with railings on both sides on the bridge. Great to see the possibilities of the SWC Super Wing Carrier. Without, it is almost impossible to do such a transport. More information about the Super Wing Carrier: https://www.nooteboom.com/trailers/super-wing-carrier/?hilite=super+wing+carrier

Posted by Nooteboom Trailers on Saturday, September 30, 2017

It turns out the answer was "plenty."

"For this project we need to complete the same turn 198 times," he says.

Won't this make the drivers a touch demented? The precision required seems astonishing.

"Coming from Campbeltown in the West Coast of Scotland, we are used to these type of roads, but for sure we only employ the best drivers around," McFadyen tells me.

The trailer is made by Nooteboom in the Netherlands and McFadyen says that his company, founded in 1901, simply has the expertise for these things.

So the next time you see wind turbines just standing there, trying to do some good for mankind, consider for a moment the effort it might have taken to get them there.

Correction, Oct. 9, 9 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this article omitted that this is one blade.