Pilots Being Blinded By Christmas Lights?


Homeowners are using laser light shows to bring the spirit of Christmas to their neighborhood, but the FAA isn't happy. They warn that the over-the-top decorations are distracting to pilots. 

The over-the-top laser light displays have become popular for homeowners the last few years as they have become far easier to set up and store. But the FAA says many people aren't setting them up correctly, allowing the powerful beams of light shoot into the sky, becoming a distraction for pilots. The FAA says some pilots have even reported being blinded by some Christmas-themed 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,” the federal agency said in a statement. “People may not realize that systems they set up to spread holiday cheer can also pose a potential hazard to pilots flying overhead.” 

Over the last few years, pilots have reported being distracted by the Christmas-themed laser light displays. The FAA says that homeowners who use the laser-light displays, should double check that their lights are hitting their home, and not shining into the sky. 

The FAA says when pilots reported a distracting house, they make an effort to contact the homeowners responsible and ask them to adjust or turn off the display. If the FAA receives multiple complaints about the same display, the homeowners could face an FAA civil fine. 

“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,” the agency said. 

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