The Columbus Dispatch
FAA warns not to aim laser displays at sky
“A pilot can face temporary
Santa Claus approves of most Christmas decorations, but he’s warning not to aim laser-light displays at the sky during the holiday season, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Instead, people with the light displays should aim the decorations at their house, the FAA confirmed in a news release.
“You might not realize this, but a well-meaning attempt to spread holiday cheer has the potential to create a serious safety risk to pilots and passengers on airplanes that fly overhead,” the FAA said, noting that “the extremely concentrated beams of laser lights reach much farther than you might realize.”
FAA Administrator and pilot Steve Dickson told USA TODAY “many highpowered lasers can incapacitate pilots flying aircraft that may be carrying hundreds of passengers and crewmembers.”
“A pilot can face temporary blindness or suffer an eye injury that could
blindness or suffer an eye injury that could be permanent.”
be permanent,” Dickson added.
Officials will contact individuals if they “become aware that your laserlight display affects pilots,” the FAA confirmed. The FAA also “works with federal state and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against individuals who purposefully aim a laser at an aircraft,” including civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.
As of Nov. 22, the FAA has received 8,550 laser strike reports for 2021, up from 6,852 in 2020.
In 2015, the popular lights prompted an emergency response after a Coast Guard plane reported a laser light being shined at it.
Steve Dickson, FAA administrator and pilot