A New Hazard To Watch For: Met Towers

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Landowners in search of a wind-power site first install meteorological towers, or met towers, to collect wind data, and these towers may be a hazard to pilots, the FAA said this week. The towers can be up to 260 feet tall, and no lighting is required if they are less than 200 feet high. They can be erected very quickly and may remain on the site for just a few days, but most will stay for a year or longer. "At this time there is no standardized notification system in place to indicate when and where these towers are erected," the FAA said. They are not posted in any Airport Facility Directory or Notams unless they interfere with airport operations.

Most of the towers have guy wires that extend up to 200 feet from the base of the tower. This FAA PowerPoint (PDF) shows how difficult it can be to spot one of these tall, skinny towers from the air. Because of the lighting requirement, most of the towers are just under 200 feet AGL. Pilots who routinely fly low-level missions can get more information from a team of pilots who work for the Department of the Interior, who have been gathering data on low-level hazards, including met towers. Their contact information is included in this PDF that was distributed by the FAA Safety Team.