Tower Light Outage Gets TX Owner In Hot Water

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The FCC issued a Notice of Violation to Caroline K. Smith, of Channing, Texas, for multiple tower lighting outages.

Agents from the agency’s Dallas Office of the Enforcement Bureau responded to a complaint in October. They inspected the tower lights (ASR # 1261197) after sunset and before dawn, and saw the required nighttime obstruction lighting was not illuminated.

During a phone call with the agent, the owner’s representative said he was unaware of the outage. He paid someone to monitor the tower lights, but since they were not performing their duties, he said he’d replace the person with a remote monitoring system. Subsequent inspections in November showed no indication the tower lighting was being observed as required, according to the bureau. 

Tower owners need to report to the FAA or nearest Flight Service Station any outages of the top steady burning light or any flashing obstruction light, regardless of its position on the structure, not corrected within 30 minutes. Reports must include the condition of the light or lights, the circumstances which caused the failure and the date when service will be restored. The FCC Antenna Structure Registration Number, the height of the structure (AGL and AMSL if known), the name, title, address, and telephone number of the person making the report also need to be included.

The owner’s representative contacted the FAA and asked that a Notice of Airman (NOTAM) be issued.  The FAA did so. When the FCC inspected the tower, neither the owner nor her representative knew of the lighting outages, nor had they reported them to the FAA.

The Enforcement Bureau seeks more information concerning the violations and any remedial action taken. Ms. Smith must reply within 20 days, explaining each violation and action taken to correct them, including a timeline to complete corrections. The Notice of Violation doesn’t preclude the Enforcement Bureau from taking further action.  

January 3, 2018     

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