The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a warning today that holiday laser-light displays aimed at houses become potentially dangerous when aimed into the sky.
The agency receives reports each year from pilots who are distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays. This creates a serious safety risk to pilots and their passengers flying overhead.
The extremely concentrated beams of laser lights reach much farther than might be realized. People with laser-light displays that affect pilots will be asked to adjust them or turn them off. A refusal to do so could lead to a civil penalty.
The warning comes as laser strikes against aircraft continue to increase. From January 1 to November 23 this year the FAA recorded 5,486 laser incidents (MS Excel), up from the 4,949 incidents recorded during the same period last year.
Intentionally aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety risk and violates federal law. The FAA works with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against individuals who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft. The agency may impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. Civil penalties of up to $30,800 have been imposed by the FAA against individuals for multiple laser incidents.