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So You Think You Have an Interesting Job

 

Painters on KLMR Tower

 

A tower paint crew scaled the KLMR main tower last week as part of regular maintenance service, repainting the red and white colors that had been eroded by the elements of the past several years, as well as some probable damage to the paint from last August’s hail storm.

The FCC/FAA dictates that broadcast towers of certain heights be re-painted periodically to increase visibility and awareness for area aircraft. Regulations also apply to ensure that flashing illuminated beacons are kept lit at the top of a tower and at specific points along its edge, depending on a tower’s height and proximity to a local airport.  Visibility is also a concern to crop duster aircraft.

The KLMR self-supporting (non-guyed) east tower is listed as being 114 meters in height, or 342 feet.

As you might imagine, it’s not the easiest job when it comes to simple painting. Consider that you carry your own equipment with you and that includes buckets of paint which have to be replenished every time you run out.  Some climber crews will haul up full buckets at strategic points along the tower to save time and strain on leg muscles when their current supply runs out.  Other considerations include temperature, humidity, wind and general weather forecasts so your work isn’t wiped out by a surprise rainfall.

The fear factor? That depends on how you react to heights.  Some people get a little dizzy after they’ve gone up ten feet on a ladder.  Some tower climbers have said that it’s all the same to them after the first 50 to 60 feet, and it has little difference to them whether you’re painting at 500 or 1,000 feet up.  There have been technical updates with radio communications with a ground spotter and safety harnesses for everyone on the tower.  Still, it’s not an occupation for everyone.

By Russ Baldwin

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