Warning light on tower out for months with no heads-up to pilots

Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 04, 2016

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- It was foggy out Friday morning where, from a distance, the top of a 350-foot communication tower was almost obscured.

The tower had no blinking light on top, and only one of the two strobes halfway up the tower was working normally.

Tony Rossi, a tower lighting technician, said safety is a big issue for the towers. The lights are designed to warn pilots in planes and helicopters.

Rossi had a video he took in July, showing the light wasn't working then, either.

"I can't understand why, with so many people that are in charge, why they don't take action on something like this," he said.

Normally, officials have 30 minutes to notify the FAA when they become aware that a light is out, so the agency can warn pilots. But no one did until a reporter called Friday.

According to Andy Knapp, the newly-hired director of the communications center, a leak into the building caused problems with the lighting components and they're waiting on a fix. He acknowledged that not alerting the FAA "wasn't good for an agency whose job is safety."

The communications center notified the FAA Friday, and the FAA issued a notice to pilots.