Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Aeronautics and Aviation

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Photo of Tower in a Field

Small Tower Registry

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Office of Aeronautics in support of the Minnesota Aerial Applicator’s Association (MAAA) and the Minnesota Air Medical Council (MAMC) announces the Small Tower Registry. MnDOT has created a database for the registration of tower data for towers that are not required to be reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Towers less than 200 feet above the ground that are not in close proximity to a public airport are not required to be reported to the FAA. With the advent of cell phones, meteorological towers, and wind turbines, new towers less than 200 feet high are now being located in rural areas. These towers can be nearly invisible to aircraft. While most aircraft operate over these towers, aerial applicators and air medical helicopters routinely operate in this environment.

Geographical Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) provide pilots with a visual representation of obstacles. Aerial Applicators and Air Medical Helicopters use GPS and GIS to navigate as they fly. With these technologies, towers can be shown on a moving map display in the cockpit of these aircraft. Data for towers over 200 feet that are reported to the FAA has been available for some time. Through this initiative, MnDOT is providing a mechanism to make the data on towers less than 200 feet that are not required to be reported to the FAA available for these pilots.

Local Planning and Zoning Boards play an important part in this process. Towers of any height normally require a permit from the local planning and zoning authority. These boards have the authority to adopt standardized marking and lighting requirements and to require participation in the Small Tower Registry.

MnDOT has created a standard format for documenting towers and will accept tower information from any proponent and provide a receipt for that tower information, showing that the proponent has participated and the information that was provided. This receipt can be provided to county/local planning and zoning boards for use in their permitting process. MnDOT will make the tower information available to the companies that provide the databases for the aerial applicators and air medical helicopters.

We encourage proponents of rural towers less than 200 feet in height to participate in the small tower registry. For more information on the registry, please contact Rick Braunig at rick.braunig@state.mn.us