The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC) has adopted emergency rules designed to protect low-flying aircraft from towers over 50’ in height used to measure and record wind speed.
The new lamping law requires companies who erect wind speed measurement towers to mark them according to the Commission’s rules. It is presumed that it would also include all of the State’s meteorological towers since the rule states: “ ‘Anemometer tower’ means a structure, including all guy wires and accessory facilities, on which an anemometer is mounted…”.
The structures must be painted with seven alternating bands of aviation orange and white, and marker balls and safety sleeves will have to be attached to the guy wires. Towers erected prior to the date the Commission adopted the rules will have until Nov. 13, 2015, to comply with the new regulations.
Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $3,000.
The rules are a result of legislation passed by state lawmakers earlier this year. They must be approved by Governor Mary Fallin before they go into effect.
Stronger calls for improved markings of anemometer towers have increased recently from the National Transportation Safety Board and agriculture community following several deaths involving crop dusters.
According to the OAC, one such incident occurred in the Oklahoma Panhandle in the summer of 2013 and another in California, which resulted in a $6.7 million wrongful-death settlement. In both cases, the pilots collided with towers that were not marked in a manner that made them readily visible.
Last year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) suggested that the governors in every state should take action and require the marking of the towers so that risks of collisions with aircraft would be minimized.