Tue, Jun 26, 2012
Steady Red Lights Causing Deaths Among Migratory Birds
An recent study conducted by federal wildlife biologists indicates that the steady red obstruction warning lights mounted on some towers were associated with the deaths migratory birds in some areas. As a result of the study, the FAA is changing the form that is used by broadcasters and others who own or operate towers 351 feet and taller to request that they be able to turn off the steady red lights in favor of flashing red lights.
It was determined that the proposed concept of redefining the standards for obstruction lighting for communication towers to omit steady-burning lights may be a viable concept that the FAA should strongly consider implementing. The researchers were able to prove through flight tests and evaluation of several different obstruction lighting configurations that the L-810 fixture can be omitted or flashed to reduce their impact on migratory bird mortality, and still provide sufficient conspicuity for pilots to see and avoid the obstruction. This concept supports the efforts of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to address the impact that communication towers will have on migratory birds, as well as the recommendations of several wildlife research and conservation organizations.
“The results showed that flashing the steady-burning lights was acceptable for small towers (151 to 350 feet in height) and that they could be omitted on taller towers (over 351 feet) so long as the remaining brighter, flashing lights were operational,” the report says.
As a result, the FAA is revising Advisory Circular 70/7460-1K, Obstruction Marking and Lighting. Broadcast and other tower owners who want to use only the flashing red lights on approved towers will be required to file an electronic form for what amounts to a waiver, according to a report appearing in Broadcast World online.
The study, which is posted on the FAA website, indicates that turning off the steady red lights will have no effect on air safety.
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