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Can your holiday-light display blind pilots? Be careful, warns FAA

Be careful with Christmas laser-light displays - pilots will thank you

Holiday laser-light displays are fun and festive, but they can be hazardous to pilots. Here's how you can help.
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Holiday laser-light displays are fun and festive, but they can be hazardous to pilots. Here's how you can help.

One type of holiday light display is growing in popularity – and it’s attracted the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Laser lights have been booming in recent years, according to SFGate, and that has prompted the FAA to issue a warning.

“People may not realize that systems they set up to spread holiday cheer can also pose a potential hazard to pilots flying overhead,” the FAA says.

Pilots over the past few years have reported being distracted or blinded by residents’ laser light displays, according to the FAA.

The FAA asks that “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 a laser light display becomes a repeat nuisance, the owners can face an FAA penalty.

Laser lights were blamed in at least six aircraft interferences over less than a month in 2015, according to Laser Pointer Safety.

In November 2015, a Coast Guard aircraft sent out a distress call when it was hit with laser lights from a holiday display near Sacramento State, Laser Pointer Safety reported. Sacramento police responded with an air operations unit, according to USA Today.

The culprit? The Star Shower projector, which has a laser that can reach 100 yards into the air, SFGate reports.

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