The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) released a new Advisory Circular for Obstruction Marking and Lighting 70/7460-IL (replacing Advisory Circular 70/7460-1K).  Under the new Advisory Circular and the FCC’s rules incorporating it, all new or altered antenna structures subject to the FCC’s antenna structure registration requirements must employ the new lighting and marking specifications set forth in the new Advisory Circular.

Specifically:

  • All NEW Communications towers taller than 350 feet above ground level that use lighting may only use flashing obstruction lights.  The L-810 steady-burning side lights for communications towers taller than 350 feet above ground level will no longer be used.
  • As of September 16, 2016, all NEW towers between 151-350 feet AGL will now employ flashing L-180 side lights instead of steady L-810 side lights.
  • Existing tower owners are encouraged to eliminate the use of L-810 steady-burning side lights.  AS A REMINDER:  prior to changing the lighting on an existing structure, the owner must request a new No Hazard Determination from the FAA and file Form 854 with the FCC to amend its tower registration to reflect the new lighting.

These changes from steady to flashing lights were made in order to reduce the effects that antenna structures have on migratory birds as recent scientific research has found that the birds are less attracted to flashing lights.