Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tower Marking Rules Narrowed to Exclude Most Ham Towers

The recently-passed Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act includes language that significantly narrows the number of "short" radio towers that need to be painted and lit to protect aircraft. The ARRL Letter reports that marking requirements imposed on towers in rural areas between 50 and 200 feet in height are now restricted to meteorological evaluation towers (METs) and those along the glide slope for an airport or heliport. 

The initial regulations had been imposed following several crashes of crop-dusting planes after encountering newly-installed METs. These weather towers are often installed on a temporary basis, so pilots may not be aware of them. Hams were joined in opposing the broader rules by the National Association of Broadcasters, which argued that they would impose unnecessary burdens on small radio stations with towers less than 200 feet tall.