Steps to Take for a Blown Tower Light
A blown tower light is not only dangerous to aircraft it can result in a serious fine for the tower owner. Therefore it is imperative to make it a regular task to check your tower lights and make a log entry. If a tower light is out, the tower owner is required to notify the FAA. This will create a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). This notice is available to all pilots and the FAA’s NOTAM phone service, 800-WX-BRIEF.
Previously you would call the local FAA center to report the outage. Times are a changing and now, while some centers still accept calls, many are finding the phone numbers they have no longer work. The new procedure is to contact the NOTAM hotline at 877-487-6867 which will in turn route you to the proper flight center.
You will need some key information when you call NOTAM, such as the tower registration number. If you are not sure of the tower number, generally it is on the tower fence or building, and you should also be able to find it on your license – it is required to be posted at the tower location. Be sure to write down the reference number the operator gives you. It is best to describe the outage in your log.
Once you have notified NOTAM, the report will be good for 15 days. If you are unable to make the repairs during this time, you need to submit a new NOTAM report.
If you would like to verify your NOTAM or check a NOTAM for a specific tower you can do this on-line at https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/ distribution/home.html. Enter the airport code preceded by a k. Ie; Dallas/ Fort Worth Airport would be kdfw. Where do you find the airport code? It is also available on-line at http://www.airnav.com/airports/search.html
A few minutes each week checking the tower lights and keeping a detailed log will keep aircraft out of harms way and keep your tower in compliance. Another good addition is an alarm system for your lights.
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