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FAA Lighting Requirements

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), all structures exceeding 200 feet above ground level (AGL) must be appropriately marked with tower lights or tower paint. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission governs monitoring requirements for airport obstruction lights. The information below provides guidance on FAA lighting requirements per FAA AC 70/7460-1M – Obstruction Marking and Lighting.

To help clients adhere to FAA LED lighting requirements, Flash Technology offers a suite of compliant obstruction lighting and marking products.


Need help determining what aviation light is appropriate for your site?

FAA aviation lighting requirements vary depending on the height of cell towers and other structures. Based on the current FAA guidelines for new and refiled towers, the infographics linked below depict obstruction lighting and tower paint requirements.

Federal lighting requirements state that wind turbines, cranes, catenaries, bridges and other structures must also be marked with aviation lights or tower paint if they present an aviation hazard.

Steady-Burning – RED/INFRARED
Single Obstruction Light

Steady-Burning – RED/INFRARED
Double Obstruction Light

High-Intensity Flashing – WHITE
Obstruction Light (40 FPM)

High-Intensity Flashing – WHITE
Catenary Light (60 FPM)

Medium-Intensity Flashing – RED/INFRARED
Obstruction Light (20-40 FPM)

Medium-Intensity Flashing – WHITE
Obstruction Light (40-FPM)

Medium-Intensity Flashing Dual – RED/INFRARED / WHITE
Obstruction Light (20-40 FPM) Obstruction Light (40 FPM)

Medium-Intensity Flashing – WHITE
Catenary Light (60-FPM)

Low-Intensity Flashing – RED/INFRARED
Red Catenary Light (60 FPM)

Medium-Intensity Flashing Dual – RED/INFRARED / WHITE
Catenary Light (60 FPM)

 (FPM = flashes per minute)

To ensure airspace navigation safety, federal agencies also regulate tower monitoring, lighting inspection and failure notifications.


  • Visually inspect every 24 hours unless automated monitoring is in place.
  • Inaccessible structures should employ automated monitoring that registers and reports any malfunction.
  • Remote monitoring should confirm communication and operational status every 24 hours.
  • Maintain a daily operations log regardless of inspection method.


  • Voltage to the lamp filament should not vary more than 3% +/- of the rated voltage. Strobes should be within 10% of rated voltage.
  • Replace lamps at 75% of their rated life or immediately upon failure.
  • Replace flashtubes immediately upon failure, when peak intensity falls below specifications, the fixture skips flashes or at the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.
  • Visually inspect lenses every 24 months or when the light fixture fails. Replace if serious cracks, hazing, dirt buildup, etc. has occurred.

Light Failure Reporting

A NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) is required for any failure lasting more than 30 minutes and affecting a top light or flashing obstruction light. NOTAMs should include:

  • Name of persons or organizations reporting the failure, including contact information
  • Structure type, height and location (including coordinates)
  • Return to service date
  • FCC registration number (if applicable)