The FAA has issued a warning to those who decorate the outside of their houses with holiday lights, including laser-light displays.
“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,” officials said in a prepared release.
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, agency officials said.
“People may not realize that systems they set up to spread holiday cheer can also pose a potential hazard to pilots flying overhead,” they add.
“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,” FAA officials continued. “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.”
Officials note that if the FAA becomes aware of a situation where a laser-light display affects pilots, they will 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,” they warn.