FAA Keeps Tower Markings "Voluntary"
The FAA received over 450 comments on its proposed guidance for marking meteorological evaluation towers that are less than 200 feet high, and last week published its final policy, which requests voluntary compliance. "Many commenters responded that marking and lighting of METs should be mandatory," the FAA said in its final rule. "It is not feasible for the FAA to maintain a national database for structures that are less than 200 feet AGL." The NTSB and the National Agricultural Aviation Association were among those who weighed in to ask the FAA to make it mandatory to mark the towers, which have been blamed for at least three fatal airplane accidents.
The towers are set up in sites where wind energy developments are under consideration, and are used to measure wind speed and direction. Many fall just below the 200-foot threshold for FAA-required obstruction markings. The new FAA policy recommends that owners should paint the towers with alternating bands of aviation orange and white paint. Owners also should place high-visibility sleeves and/or spherical markers on the guy wires, the FAA said. AOPA submitted comments noting that the towers pose a "significant hazard to many types of aeronautical operations," and supported the FAA proposal to set voluntary procedures.