How Much Will Tower Lighting and Painting Issues Cost You in FCC Fines? $10,000 According to Recent Case

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FCC tower lighting and marking violations are among those treated most seriously by the FCC, given their potential for tragedy should there be an incident with an aircraft due to improper tower maintenance. Today, in two Notices of Apparent liability, the FCC proposed fines against tower owners for such violations. In one case, where the lights were apparently not functioning and the FAA had not been notified of the outage as required, the proposed fine is $10,000. In that case, the FCC cited the owner for failing to observe the lighting and painting requirements, and not observing the tower to determine if the lights were operational, and not having an automatic monitoring system to check on those lights (see our post here about how the FCC allows such systems to, in many cases, substitute for routine visual monitoring). In a second case, where the issue was only with the painting of the tower, the fine was $4000. In either case, these fines are significant, and serve as a reminder to tower owners to observe the mandatory tower painting and lighting requirements attached to their communications tower. Remember, FCC fines pale in comparison to potential liability if the failure to observe the marking requirements lead to some more serious incident.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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