Coast Guard's unlit tower near Hobe Sound could be dangerous for pilots

Pilots say it's a hazard in the sky. The lights on a 650 foot U.S. Coast Guard tower just south of Hobe Sound went dark about two years ago.   

 

"It could be hazardous to their health," says pilot Tony Delorenzo.

 

Delorenzo says local pilots know about the outage, but not visitors.

 

"Especially this time of the year a lot of people fly their planes down from up north," says Delorenzo.

 

The radio tower is not in use. The Coast Guard discontinued its Long Range Navigation (LORAN) program a couple years ago because of newer technology.

 

The tower will be torn down later this year. That's why the Coast Guard hasn't fixed the lights. The entire electrical system needs to be replaced. 

 

"Rather than spending $100,000 taxpayer dollars on something that we know is going to go away and be dismantled," says Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss with the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

The Coast Guard has to wait until the summer to tear it down because the Florida Scrub-Jay uses it during nesting season from March to June.

 

"I'd say July/ August is the scheduled time that that work would most likely begin," says CPO Doss.

 

Until then, pilots have to be careful and must check the Federal Aviation Administration's notice to airmen log which lists the tower outage before they take off.

 

 

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