If you operate a broadcast tower, then it's unlikely that you see it as a significant aesthetic centerpiece of your business. Broadcast towers are functional structures engineered to serve a clear purpose, so keeping their paint fresh and bright often isn't a high priority for operators. Unfortunately, this can be a costly mistake from both a regulatory and a functional point of view. The purpose of broadcast tower paint isn't to make the tower look good, but rather to ensure that it is clearly visible at all times.
Understanding FAA and FCC Regulations
Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issue guidelines for the marking of towers. While the FAA's guidelines are intended as industry standards, the FCC's guidelines are strictly regulatory in nature and mandatory for tower operators. The FAA's guidelines are broadly divided into two groups: towers above two hundred feet and towers between fifty and two hundred feet. Per FAA standards, all towers above two hundred feet must be marked, while towers within the lower range require markings if they meet other requirements.
Depending on the height of your tower, the FAA's guidelines will define the number of alternating red and white bands that must be in place. These painted markings are in addition to any lighting requirements. Since the FAA's rules (and the FCC regulations that reference those rules) require specific paint colors, faded or chipped paint may cause your tower to fall out of compliance with federal regulations.
Treating Tower Painting as Routine Maintenance
While it may feel like a burden to routinely paint your broadcast tower, federal guidelines are necessary to ensure the safety of air traffic. The FAA has recently updated its guidelines to include towers shorter than 200 feet because even these relatively small towers may pose a hazard to low-flying air traffic in certain regions. For these reasons, tower paint must be considered part of your regular maintenance routine. When you conduct inspections for rust or other structural issues, paint should be evaluated to ensure that colors have not faded and that large sections have not chipped away.
Selecting a Painting Contractor
If you discover that your tower is in need of repainting, then choosing a skilled and experienced contractor for the job is essential. Any contractor that you ultimately work with should clearly understand the FAA and FCC rules for tower painting, and you should ensure that the paints they use clearly meet FAA color standards. Working with a contractor experienced in broadcast tower work will guarantee that the job is done quickly and efficiently, and ultimately leave you with a tower in full compliance with federal guidelines.Share
30 January 2020
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