Tower Lighting FAQs
Tower Lighting FAQs
The current code for tower lighting is FAA advisory circular AC70/7460-1M This code provides requirements for the location, types, and intensity of the lights used to mark towers. It also establishes requirements for the design, placement, maintenance, and testing of tower lighting equipment.
Towers are equipped with lights to improve visibility and ensure the safety of aircraft. These lights can be seen from far away and help pilots identify and avoid obstacles while in flight.
In general towers over 200 ft tall require obstruction lighting to be in compliance with the FAA requirements. LED lighting is an energy-efficient solution that is cost-effective and low-maintenance. It is also more visually appealing than other lighting types, making it an ideal choice for tower lighting.
Replacing tower lighting can be a cost-effective investment that can yield a positive return on investment (ROI). Factors such as energy efficiency and improved lighting quality can lead to reduced energy costs and enhanced safety, especially comparing LED to older technologies. Additionally, new technology can also bring additional benefits such as reduced maintenance costs and greater reliability.
LED obstruction lighting offers a number of advantages, including being energy efficient, highly visible, and less expensive than traditional lighting methods. Additionally, LED lights are easy to install, require minimal maintenance and are long-lasting.
A NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) needs to be filed when there is information pertinent to aviation operations that could affect the safety of a flight. The FAA website states that any failure or malfunction that lasts more than thirty (30) minutes and affects a top light or flashing obstruction light, regardless of its position, should be reported immediately by either direct entry tool or by calling 877-487-6867, for Alaska 800-478-3576, so a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) can be issued. Start of Activity/End of Validity must be provided when reporting. FCC receives notification upon Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) NOTAM issuance.
A NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) is an official notification to pilots, air traffic controllers, and other personnel involved in aviation operations, and is typically valid for up to 28 days from the time of issuance, unless a longer duration is requested and approved.
A NOTAM must be filed if your tower lights are out. This involves providing information such as the ASRN, the location of the tower, the time and duration of the outage, and contact information. The local FAA Air Traffic Facility should be contacted in order to file the NOTAM and obtain a record of the filing. Flight services NOTAM Line 1-877-487-6867
Migratory birds have been found to be at risk of collisions with communication towers, particularly when the towers are located in important migratory stopover sites or migratory pathways. The effects of these collisions on the population of migratory birds is not yet known, but further research is needed to understand the issue.
Research has shown migratory birds may be attracted to red, non-flashing obstruction lights on towers. In 2015, the FAA updated its Advisory Circular (AC) for obstruction lighting. Proper configurations of tower lighting systems that include flashing lights will likely result in fewer deaths of migratory birds.
Newer LED lighting systems do include infrared technology to assist aviators using night vision or instrumentation reading.
In 2020 the FAA changed specifications for IR technology. The FAA Advisory Circular 70/7460-1m states the FAA changed specifications for LED-based red obstruction lights to make them visible to pilots using certain night vision goggle systems. Effective with implementation of this change in FAA AC 150/5345-43, Specification for Obstruction Lighting Equipment, manufacturers will be required to meet the new specification for certified red LED-based obstruction lights.
LED tower lights can last up to 40,000 hours of continuous use, providing years of maintenance-free illumination.
Replacing your current lighting system may offer operational savings, such as energy efficiency, reduced maintenance and repair costs, longer life span, and increased lighting quality.
Pros of LED Tower Lighting:
-Lower energy consumption compared to traditional or other lighting systems
-Longer lifespan than traditional lighting
-Provides high quality, bright illumination
-Can be used in various applications
-Potential for remote monitoring of lighting system
Cons of LED Tower Lighting:
-Higher upfront cost than traditional lighting
-Potential for lighting issues if not properly grounded and RF shielded
Obstruction lighting is typically sold by manufacturers and distributors of aviation products, as well as companies that specialize in aviation lighting. Please reach out to our team at Precision Communications to inquire about your lighting needs. https://pcitower.com/contact-us/ or 918-786-8084
Yes, but most incandescent tower lighting systems have been replaced by LED lighting systems, and parts for incandescent tower lighting systems are increasingly harder to source.
No, you do not need to paint your tower if you have a dual lighting system. Dual lighting systems project in both the day and the evening so tower is visible to aviators. While not required, there may still be benefits of painting your tower such as rust inhibition.
The FAA allows for a variety of configurations that all meet their Marking and Lighting requirements to make towers visible to aviators. A tower can be painted in alternating bands of Aviation Orange and White paint or it can be marked with white lights for daytime visibility. A tower needs either red or white lighting at night. So this allows for three basic configurations: paint for day with red lights for night, white lights for day and red lights for night and white lights for both day and night marking.
Further variations are due to tower heights. Structures lower than 700’ can utilize medium intensity lighting, while taller towers require high intensity lighting.
All of the variations including charts for correct installation levels are in the FAA Advisory Circular 70/7460-1M. The Precision staff would be happy to help you navigate your FAA Marking and Lighting needs.