On May 20 Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 505 requiring the marking of MET towers in rural areas. Approval of the bill makes Texas the 14th state with tower marking legislation and is the result of the efforts by the Texas Agricultural Aviation Association (TAAA).
TAAA Executive Director Chris Shields expressed his
appreciation to the agricultural aviation association family—state, regional
and national—for all of its leaders’ help in accomplishing this major safety
feat for low-level aviation in the Lone Star State. According to the U.S. Energy Information
Administration, Texas is the top wind power state with nearly 36 million
megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity. Iowa is second, with more than 15 million
MWh. Shields’ veteran status as a
respected Texas lobbyist and long-serving TAAA executive director was
instrumental in the law’s passage.
April 3 in the eNewsletter, Texas
already has some tower marking requirements, SB 505 rewrites the existing
requirements to make them more effective, and adds others. SB 505 does the
- Defines “tower” as a self-sustaining or guy
wired structure not more than 6 feet in diameter, and is capable of mounting
sensors and cameras. Extends marking requirements to towers over 50 feet
(rather than 100 feet in existing law). Towers must be painted in equal, alternating
bands of aviation orange and white, beginning with orange at the top of the
- States that high visibility spherical marker
balls of aviation orange color should be installed and displayed in accordance
with the standards contained in FAA advisory circular on Marking Meteorological
Evaluation Towers (FR-2011-06-24) and the additional standards found in FAA
Advisory Circular AC 70/7460-1;
- Guy wires must have a seven foot safety sleeve
at each anchor point;
- Towers erected prior to the effective date must
be marked as required by the legislation within one year of the effective date
of the legislation;
- Contains a Penalty provision for non-compliance
with different penalties for violations resulting in death or injury versus
those that do not result in death or injury: Class B misdemeanor for the former
and Class C misdemeanor for the latter; and
- Adds a reporting and registration requirement to
be administered by the Texas Department of Transportation.
The bill also exempts FCC communications towers, towers
adjacent to buildings, as well as utility and transmission towers.
NAAA congratulates the TAAA on passage of the bill in both
houses of the Texas legislature. Meanwhile, NAAA continues its efforts on the
national level to require marking of MET towers nationwide.