The Texas Department of Transportation has proposed rules for enforcing a flight-safety law passed this year requiring the marking and registration of meteorological evaluation towers—structures that pose a collision hazard to aircraft flying at low altitudes.
AOPA encourages members who fly in Texas to review the rules and submit comments by Dec. 14 as provided below.
The regulatory proposal follows passage in May of AOPA-backed Senate Bill 505. By taking up the bill, Texas joined numerous other states to act on concerns about the collision risk posed by the easily erected and rapidly proliferating towers, which are used to evaluate a site for wind-energy potential.
The National Transportation Safety Board has also encouraged states to act to alleviate the collision risk, and expressed support for the Texas measure.
Proposed rules would require operators to give notice of the intent to set up a meteorological evaluation tower at least 30 days before doing so. Registration of the tower would be mandated no more than 30 days afterward, or by Feb. 29, 2016, whichever is later. In addition, the department’s aviation division “is developing a web-based notice, registration, and reporting tool that will be available to owners and operators of METs, as well as other interested parties that need to know the location of such towers,” according to the draft of the rules.
David S. Fulton, director of the aviation division, determined that “the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the new rules will be improved public safety through enhanced awareness of obstacles by pilots operating aircraft at low altitudes,” said the proposal.
AOPA will submit comments on the proposed rules and encourages pilots to review them as well, said Yasmina Platt, AOPA Central Southwest regional manager.
Comments on the proposed new sections §§30.501 - 30.503 of the state’s Transportation Code may be submitted via email with the subject line “Aviation Rules” or by mail to Rule Comments, Office of General Counsel, Texas Department of Transportation, 125 East 11th Street, Austin, Texas 78701-2483 by Dec. 14 at 5 p.m.