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Michigan State UniversityFewer Lights Safer Flights

Toolkit for Operators and Engineers

Simple tower light changes will reduce tower energy costs, reduce tower maintenance costs, and reduce bird collisions by more than 70%!

Tower owners and engineers have the opportunity and ability to have a positive impact with no cost and effort! The tower industry has been an active participant in the efforts to allow the extinguishing of steady-burning lights on communication towers. Their involvement ensures that this solution is a cost-effective and easy change to communication towers.

The process for tower operators is as follows:

  1. File a Marking and Lighting study electronically on the FAA website requesting the extinguishing of steady-burning lights (L-810) at https://oeaaa.faa.gov/oeaaa/external/portal.jsp with the form Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration (Form 7460-1). Requests for approval will be accepted electronically using structure type "Deviation from Red Obstruction Light Standards". The FAA will then move the request through their review system. They are using the FAA's "Evaluation of New Obstruction Lighting Techniques to Reduce Avian Fatalities" as interim guidance for the new lighting system options. Eventually the Advisory Circular will be revised to reflect these new options but until then the interim guidance is adequate for their review and approval.

    NOTE: If you are concerned that the FAA is taking too long to respond to your request for approval, you may find and contact the technician from the appropriate state at https://oeaaa.faa.gov/oeaaa/external/public/aorMap.jsp.

  2. Once the FAA has processed the request and assigned a FAA Study Number the tower operator can then file the change with the FCC and get it approved immediately through their website at http://wireless.fcc.gov/antenna/.

  3. The steady-burning L-810 tower lights can now be extinguished1, resulting in an immediate reduction in energy costs, maintenance costs, and migratory bird collisions! Given the positive nature of this change, your efforts provide an opportunity for positive public relations and media news releases.

1Towers < 350 feet Above Ground Level (AGL) are not recommended to extinguish L-810 lights but instead should be programmed to have L-810 lights flashing simultaneously with the L-864 lights. The manufacturer of your specific tower lights can be contacted for information on alterations.