Low-altitude VFR flight operations in Idaho will be safer now that Gov. C. L. Otter has signed an AOPA-backed bill requiring the marking and lighting of rural towers and other obstructions that are less than 200 feet high.
House Bill 511 requires the marking of both permanent and temporary guyed towers taller than 50 feet above ground level in rural areas of Idaho. New towers will have to comply with the law’s provisions starting July 1. Existing towers will be allowed one year to be brought into compliance. It was estimated that there are more than 400 small unmarked and unlit towers that would be covered by the provisions.
“These small, unmarked towers present a significant hazard to low-level general aviation aircraft operations, including aerial application, emergency response, wildfire suppression, and medical helicopter operations,” said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy.
The bill, signed by Otter on March 27, exempts power transmission lines and military communications structures.
From the bill’s February introduction, AOPA, the Idaho Aviation Association, and the Idaho Agricultural Aviation Association worked collaboratively to advocate for its provisions, conferring with the governor’s office and Senate leadership.
“Idaho members should reach out to their state legislators and thank them for their support of this significant GA safety enhancement,” Pecoraro said, noting that the bill’s safety provisions come at no cost to the aviation community.
Recent passage of a tax exemption bill covering aircraft parts and supplies was another highlight of an Idaho legislative session that was supportive of aviation, he said.