A field test with a continuous wave wind lidar (ZephIR) installed in the rotating spinner of a wind turbine for unimpeded preview measurements of the upwind approaching wind conditions is described. The experimental setup with the wind lidar on the tip of the rotating spinner of a large 80 m rotor diameter, 59 m hub height 2.3 MW wind turbine (Vestas NM80), located at Tjæreborg Enge in western Denmark is presented. Preview wind data at two selected upwind measurement distances, acquired during two measurement periods of different wind speed and atmospheric stability conditions, are analyzed. The lidar-measured speed, shear and direction of the wind field previewed in front of the turbine are compared with reference measurements from an adjacent met mast and also with the speed and direction measurements on top of the nacelle behind the rotor plane used by the wind turbine itself. Yaw alignment of the wind turbine based on the spinner lidar measurements is compared with wind direction measurements from both the nearby reference met mast and the turbine's own yaw alignment wind vane. Furthermore, the ability to detect vertical wind shear and vertical direction veer in the inflow, through the analysis of the spinner lidar data, is investigated. Finally, the potential for enhancing turbine control and performance based on wind lidar preview measurements in combination with feed-forward enabled turbine controllers is discussed. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.