NTSB MET Safety Recommendations

Meteorological evaulation tower hidden among wind turbinesLook closely, and you'll see the arrow is pointing to an unmarked 198-foot MET tower. The NTSB has issued a series of recommendations to address safety concerns surrounding METs after a number of fatal aircraft collisions.The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued six safety recommendations regarding Meteorological Evaluation Towers (METs) in the wake of investigations into three fatal aircraft collisions that resulted in four deaths. The recommendations were issued May 15, 2013, and are directed to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the 46 states, four territories and District of Columbia without MET legislation.

The NTSB recommends the FAA amend 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 77 to require all METs be registered, marked and—where feasible—lighted. In addition it recommends a national, public database be created and maintained for the registration of all METs.

The NTSB specifically recommends AWEA revise its Wind Energy Siting Handbook to include language indicating the hazards posed by METS to low-level aviation and encourage the voluntary marking of METS to increase visibility, as referenced in Advisory Circular 70/7460-1, with the updated FAA MET marking guidelines from the federal register of June 2011. In addition, the Agency recommends AWEA inform its members of the circumstances resulting in MET fatalities and emphasize the importance of understanding the aviation hazards associated with METs when erecting them.

With reference to the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Department of Defense and the USDA, the NTSB recommends the agencies provide a copy of the aforementioned Advisory Circular as part of their review and approval of applications to build METs.

For the 46 states, four territories and District of Columbia that currently do not have MET legislation in place, the NTSB specifically recommends enactment of legislation that would require METs be marked and registered in a directory.

The NTSB previously issued a Safety Alert in March 2011 regarding the three MET accidents and NAAA is pleased the Agency remains cognizant of the importance of aviation safety as it pertains to METs. NAAA supports the above-mentioned NTSB safety recommendations and is pleased the Agency concurs with the need for more to be done to protect low-level pilots. We will continue to work with the FAA to encourage expansion of the AC and pursue guidance and official laws or ordinances applicable to all types of obstacles and towers—guy wired and free-standing alike.