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Liability Of Temporary Meteorological Evalutation Towers (MET)

Wind energy companies may approach farmers offering a lease for the right to erect a temporary meteorological evalutaion tower (MET).  The tower can be ererctedin hours or days, and is typically just under 200 feet high and guyed.  The height is important because it gets the sensors up near where the windmill rotor blades would turn, but is just under the 200 feet limit where the FAA requires permission for erection and that the tower be lighted and painted to be visibile.  The wind companies do not want the tower location to be known because it gives competitors an insight into the wind companies plants.

Several ag pilots have been killed flying into unmarked towers that they did not know about.  The wind company does not have to and does not tell where they are.

The NTSB has sent recommendations to several industry groups and to the 50 states on this hazard to aviation.  10 states are in the process of considering state level legislation on tower marking.  The height is such that it could affect your farm radio tower.  Some states use 25 feet, some say 50 feet.

Here is a recent New York Times article about the danger.

A recent settlement for wrongful death in California in the amount of $6.7 million involved the not only the company that erected and used the tower, but also the landowner.  That tells me that if you permit an unmarked and unannounced MET on your land and an ag pilot gets hurt, you could be one of the defendants in a suit.

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