The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a warning that holiday laser-light displays can be dangerous for flights when aimed into the sky. The agency receives reports from pilots who are distracted or temporarily blinded by residential laser-light displays. This creates a serious safety risk.
The concentrated laser beams reach much farther than homeowners may realize. The FAA will ask homeowners with laser-light displays that affect pilots to adjust or turn off the displays. A refusal to do so could lead to a civil penalty.
Laser incidents from other sources such as laser pointers also pose a serious risk throughout the year. In 2019, the agency recorded 6,136 laser events. From January 1 to November 30, 2020, the FAA recorded 6,079 laser events.
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 people who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft. The agency may impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.