A reminder to pilots and non-pilots alike; enjoy your holiday laser lights responsibly this winter season.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently sent out a reminder and we thought we’d do our best to help share the information so that as many people, pilots or not, get the message.
Each holiday season for the past several years, the FAA has received reports from pilots who said they were distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays.
The FAA’s concerns about lasers – regardless of the source – is that they not be aimed at aircraft in a way that can threaten the safety of a flight by distracting or blinding the pilots. People may not realize that systems they set up to spread holiday cheer can also pose a potential hazard to pilots flying overhead.
So if you’re going to install a holiday laser-light system, please make sure the lights are hitting your house and not shining up into the sky. It may not look like the lights go much farther than your house, but the extremely concentrated beams of laser lights actually reach much further than most people think.
If the FAA becomes aware of a situation where a laser-light display affects pilots, we start by asking the owner to adjust them or turn them off. However, if someone’s laser-light display repeatedly affects pilots despite previous warnings, that person could face an FAA civil penalty.
Below we’ve included a couple examples of some holiday laser lights that, while amazing looking, can cause quite a panic in the cockpit if a pilot were to become disoriented or temporarily blinded by it.
Enjoy your holidays and your holiday lights, but please remember to do so in a responsible manner. Also, while those of us involved with aviation know this and actually think about it, those who don’t fly general aviation have no idea of how they could be effecting someone’s flight and life. Pass the word on to everyone you can to help spread cheer and potentially save lives this holiday season.