Contact FAA if red lights dim on tall building


POSTED: Thursday, April 09, 2009

Question: Tall buildings and towers have red lights on top. Should an ordinary citizen do anything if one of the lights is off? I don't even know their purpose—I have presumed it had something to do with aviation, mainly because who else is up there at night? And it may have been important at one time, but is it still? There have been many advances in radar technology and maybe the red lights are no longer important.

I ask because I can see two tall buildings with red lights on top from my apartment window in Kakaako. One of the lights was out in January and it was out again recently. I have no idea who is responsible for those lights: building owners, the state or some federal agency.

Answer: The red lights atop tall buildings are there as a warning to aircraft and are required by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Anyone noticing a light out is asked to contact the FAA's Flight Standards District Office as soon as possible, said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. The number for the Honolulu office is 837-8300.

“;We do an evaluation of tall buildings near airports or anything over 200 feet,”; Gregor explained.

Part of the evaluation includes a requirement for certain markings and/or lighting. “;A light out is something important,”; Gregor said.

If the FAA is aware of it, it will alert the owner of the building or tower to fix it. If it takes a day or two for repairs to be made, then the FAA will issue a notice to pilots, alerting them to “;beware that the light in such-and-such tower in such-and-such location is out of service,”; Gregor said.

Regarding your question, he added that “;it's good that somebody noticed it.”;

Q: In this time of serious economic hardship for so many people, why does the Board of Water Supply continue to send out bills for two months? Paying a monthly bill is easier than paying a whopper two-month bill.

A: Actually, you do have the option of paying your bill monthly. Below the “;Total Amount Due”; charge on your bill is a line that says “;Minimum Amount Due”;—half the amount. The customer must pay at least that minimum amount by the due date, said Board of Water Supply spokeswoman Su Shin.

Thirty days later, you'll get another bill for the second half of the payment. There are no additional charges, fees or assessments for those who opt to split their bill into two payments, Shin said.

“;The primary reason the BWS continues to use a two-month bill is cost,”; she said. “;Switching to monthly billing would double our meter-reading force, postage costs, bill production costs, etc., all of which would need to be passed on to the customer.”;

Anyone with questions can call the Board of Water Supply at 748-5000.



To the driver who sent the “;auwe”; about the white Chevrolet minivan making a left turn from Kapiolani Boulevard to Keeaumoku Street at 5:30 p.m. (Kokua Line, March 30): It is NOT illegal to make this turn from the left-turn lane at that time. The “;No Left Turn”; signs refer only to the hours between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m.— No Name