Wind Evaluation Tower Bill Signed By Gov. FallinFri, 30 May 2014 11:10:04 CDT
After a few weeks of nail-biting and some minor rewording, House Bill 3348 was finally sent to Gov. Mary Fallin's desk, where she signed it Wednesday along with several others bills.
The new law will require towers used for measuring wind speed, as part of the wind power generation process, to be marked, painted and flagged for clear visibility if they are at least 50 feet tall.
The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission would be responsible for promulgating the specific rules for these towers, including marking as well as notification requirements for building or removal of the towers.
Director of Aeronautics Victor Bird said, "It's really a simple matter: higher visibility saves lives. This new law will make it easier for all aircraft that fly at lower altitudes to see these wind evaluation towers and their attendant guy wires during daylight hours. The easier they are to see, the faster they can be avoided. We've already lost too many lives from low-level impact with these towers, and this new law will help correct that."
Many types of aircraft that fly at lower altitudes have found it difficult to see and avoid these towers, which until now have been erected and moved to new locations without notification. Air ambulance flights, aerial applicators ("crop dusters"), law enforcement aircraft and even civilian aircraft have been caught by surprise by these towers in the past, resulting in four fatalities in Oklahoma and surrounding states.
"The Governor loves to fly, and she has always been the state's biggest supporter of the aviation and aerospace industry," said Bird. "This new law is evidence of her commitment to make sure Oklahoma is not only a worldwide provider of aerospace technology, hardware and parts but is also leading the way to make our airspace system one of the safest in the country."
The bill, co-authored by Rep. Don Armes, R-Faxon, and Sen. Charles Wyrick, D-Fairland, will take effect beginning Nov. 1, 2014.
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