While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all structures exceeding 200 feet above ground level (AGL) to be marked with tower lights or tower paint, the rules vary for structures below that height. Unmarked towers are extremely difficult for aerial applicators to see as they conduct their work at speeds up to 160 mph just 10 feet off the ground, and accidents (too many, fatal) occur every year as a result. All Meteorological Evaluation Towers (METs) between 50 and 200 feet in rural areas with an above ground base of less than 10 feet in diameter must be both properly marked and logged into a designated FAA database. Well-funded lobbying from the telecommunications industry loosened the requirements for all other towers (cellular, TV, radio, RTK, etc.) meeting these same specifications to only need marked or logged. Though congressionally mandated in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization, the FAA has yet to follow through with generating this database. NAAA maintains that all towers should be marked and logged. Alongside its state association partners, NAAA will continue to push to make towers more visible for low-altitude pilots and to develop policies that consider aviation safety.
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