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Washington Aeronautic Safety Law Exempts Amateur Radio “Guyed Towers”


Washington Gov Jay Inslee has signed into law legislation aimed at providing a safer “flying environment” for pilots of aircraft engaged in “low-flying activities,” such as crop dusting and search-and-rescue. The new law includes provisions to alert pilots to “guyed towers that may be erected at short notice” that might be hard to see and pose an air safety hazard, and it contains specific marking and lighting requirements. Specifically exempted from the new law is “Any structure for which the primary purpose is to support telecommunications equipment, such as equipment for Amateur Radio and broadcast radio and television services regulated by the Federal Communications Commission.”

ARRL Field Organization volunteers in Washington worked with lawmakers to have the exemption included. Also exempted are self-supporting utility poles and towers, and guyed towers that are used for military purposes, within 50 feet of a structure or vegetation of equal or greater height, or attached to a “large mobile motorized machine” such as one used to yard timber.

Impetus for the legislation — similar to legislation being considered or enacted in other Western states — was a 2013 National Transportation Safety Board recommendation that states and territories “Enact legislation requiring that meteorological evaluation towers erected in your state or territory are marked and registered in a directory.” The recommendation came in the wake of fatal aircraft collisions with meteorological evaluation towers (METs), which often are erected on short notice and lack markings or lighting to make them more visible to pilots.






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