This video is brought to you with funding
from the Nebraska Aviation Trades Association and University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension.
With a growing interest in wind energy for electrical production in the United States,
areas such as the many areas including the Great Plains are being studied for potential
wind farm locations. A key point of research, in these endeavors, is determining the wind
speed, direction, and duration at a specific location. Wind energy companies use Meteorological
Evaluation Towers, called MET Towers, to collect these data to determine the economic feasibility
of a wind farm location. MET Towers are the most common means for evaluating
wind speeds and direction in a specific location. They are typically tall, tubular steel towers
with a small radius of 6 to 12 inches and average heights ranging from 100 — 199 feet.
Due to the height and thin nature of these towers, the tower visibility becomes a key
safety issue. Proper marking significantly improves the visibility of MET towers for
low flying aircraft, especially those used for agriculture. The Federal Aviation Administration, known
as the FAA, has made recommendations for all MET towers in rural areas that are less than
200 feet above ground level. These recommendations were made in recognition of the threat tall
towers can pose to aviation safety. These guidelines are strongly recommended for all
MET Tower owners to follow. When these guide lines are not followed, MET
Tower visibility is easily reduced to unnoticeable levels. This image shows an unmarked MET Tower
from the view of a low flying aircraft pilot. Now, we will show the same shot but circle
the MET tower to help you identify its location. Under these circumstances, the importance
of proper MET Tower marking is understood. In June of 2011, the FAA with the Department
of Transportation released Policy Statement 14 CFR Part 77. This statement included the
recommended FAA guidelines for MET Tower marking. These recommendations include information
regarding painting of MET Towers along with marking guy wires with high visibility sleeves
and marking balls. These regulations will improve safety for all low flying aerial applicators,
life flight crews and patients, aerial fire suppression, aerial utility patrols, aerial
law surveillance and other types of low altitude aviation. FAA guidelines recommend for MET Towers to
be painted with seven alternating bands of aviation orange and white. Each band should
measure 1/7th the height of the tower, and both ends of the tower should be painted with
bands of aviation orange, as shown in this video. For wire visibility, it is recommended that
both sleeves and spherical marker balls be used. The FAA recommends one high visibility
sleeve on each guy wire anchor point that will reach a height well above the crop or
vegetation canopy, and another sleeve installed on each of the outer guy wires. The FAA recommends a total of 8 high visibility
spherical marker (or cable) balls of aviation orange color attached to the guy wires. Four
marker balls should be attached to guy wires at the top of the tower no further than 15
feet from the top wire connection to the tower, and 4 marker balls at or below the midpoint
of the structure on the outer guy wires. Once the MET tower has been painted and the
spherical marker balls and sleeves fixed to the guy wires, the tower is ready to be raised
once again. It should be noted that the FAA concludes that it would not be practical to
recommend lights for the type MET Towers addressed in this video. A properly marked MET Tower increases the
level visibility of the tower to low flying aircraft, effectively improving safety for
all agriculture pilots. Another key component in providing maximum
aviation safety is registering MET towers with the state department of aeronautics.
While it is unfeasible for the FAA to maintain a national database of MET towers with heights
less than 200 feet, it is highly recommended for aviation safety that MET Tower companies
or land owners register MET Tower locations. In the state of Nebraska, law requires this.
For MET Towers located in Nebraska, •please register at the following web address: www.aero.state.ne.us/windtowers
• registration may be mailed to: Nebraska Department of Aeronautics
3431 Aviation Road, Suite 150 Lincoln, NE 68524 Thank you for your interest and for your properly
marked MET Towers. Properly marked MET towers as per FAA guidance
does save lives. This informational video comes to you from the Nebraska Aviation Trades
Association and University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension.