When a tower is not properly lit because of a light outage, the tower owner is required to notify the FAA. Doing so creates a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) that is available to all pilot in regularly published notices and also through the FAA's NOTAM phone service at 800-WX-BRIEF.
In the past, tower owners would often call a local FAA flight service center to report the outage. Some flight centers continue to accept calls, but many stations and tower owners are finding that the phone number for a local flight service center has changed after the outage occurs.
The FAA has established a single, nationwide phone number to log NOTAMs. Call 877-487-6867 and the call will be routed to the appropriate flight service center.
When you call, be prepared to provide the tower registration number (also called an ASR number). This is the seven-digit number that is assigned to all FCC-registered towers. During our call to the NOTAM line to verify this information, we were also advised that it would be helpful to have the name of the airport nearest to the tower.
The person taking the information will provide a file number to reference the report. The tower owner should keep this number on file in the station log.
A NOTAM is valid for 15 days. It will automatically expire at that time, and the FAA will notify the FCC that the outage has been corrected. If the outage is not corrected within 15 days, the station should call the NOTAM office and file a new NOTAM. This will delete the old one and create a new one.
Verifying a NOTAM
NOTAMs can be searched online. To check a NOTAM for a specific tower, first determine which airport is closest to the tower. This is where the NOTAM will be registered. The three-character airport code for each airport can be found at this link:
Once the airport code is known, find the NOTAM number by accessing this site: https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/distribution/home.html. Enter the airport code preceeded by the letter "k." For example, to search for a NOTAM issued from Laguardia airport, enter klga.