August 4, 2016 –The recently passed FAA reauthorization bill requires the FAA to mandate the marking of freestanding towers between 50 feet and 200 feet AGL with antennas and other attachments in rural areas for the safety of pilots of low-flying aircraft.
According the reauthorization, which expires Sept. 30, 2017, these towers will need to be clearly marked in a manner consistent with the FAA Advisory Circular 70/7460-1L or as determined by the FAA Administrator. In addition, the locations and heights of the towers would have to be recorded in an aviation safety database.
Here is the legislative language:
SEC. 2110. TOWER MARKING.
(a) In General.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall issue regulations to require the marking of covered towers.
(b) Marking Required.—The regulations under subsection (a) shall require that a covered tower be clearly marked in a manner that is consistent with applicable guidance under the Federal Aviation Administration Advisory Circular issued December 4, 2015 (AC 70/7460-1L), or other relevant safety guidance, as determined by the Administrator.
(c) Application.—The regulations issued under subsection (a) shall ensure that—
(1) all covered towers constructed on or after the date on which such regulations take effect are marked in accordance with subsection (b); and
(2) a covered tower constructed before the date on which such regulations take effect is marked in accordance with subsection (b) not later than 1 year after such effective date.
(1) IN GENERAL.—In this section, the following definitions apply:
(A) COVERED TOWER.—
(i) IN GENERAL.—The term “covered tower” means a structure that—
(I) is self-standing or supported by guy wires and ground anchors;
(II) is 10 feet or less in diameter at the above-ground base, excluding concrete footing;
(III) at the highest point of the structure is at least 50 feet above ground level;
(IV) at the highest point of the structure is not more than 200 feet above ground level;
(V) has accessory facilities on which an antenna, sensor, camera, meteorological instrument, or other equipment is mounted; and
(VI) is located—
(aa) outside the boundaries of an incorporated city or town; or
(bb) on land that is—
(AA) undeveloped; or
(BB) used for agricultural purposes.
(ii) EXCLUSIONS.—The term “covered tower” does not include any structure that—
(I) is adjacent to a house, barn, electric utility station, or other building;
(II) is within the curtilage of a farmstead;
(III) supports electric utility transmission or distribution lines;
(IV) is a wind-powered electrical generator with a rotor blade radius that exceeds 6 feet; or
(V) is a street light erected or maintained by a Federal, State, local, or tribal entity.
(B) UNDEVELOPED.—The term “undeveloped” means a defined geographic area where the Administrator determines low-flying aircraft are operated on a routine basis, such as low-lying forested areas with predominant tree cover under 200 feet and pasture and range land.
(2) OTHER DEFINITIONS.—The Administrator shall define such other terms as may be necessary to carry out this section.
(e) Database.—The Administrator shall—
(1) develop a database that contains the location and height of each covered tower;
(2) keep the database current to the extent practicable;
(3) ensure that any proprietary information in the database is protected from disclosure in accordance with law; and
(4) ensure that, by virtue of accessing the database, users agree and acknowledge that information in the database—
(A) may only be used for aviation safety purposes; and
(B) may not be disclosed for purposes other than aviation safety, regardless of whether or not the information is marked or labeled as proprietary or with a similar designation.