Christmas ‘laser’ lights causing problems for planes

(KRON Photo)

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KRON) — A new way to decorate your house for Christmas is causing a new problem for pilots.

“Laser” light displays promise to make covering your house in lights a snap, but the lasers can be dangerous to planes flying over your neighborhood. The light is a projection to make anything or anyone look festive.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it will not tell you how to decorate your house. But it just asks you do not point them to the sky.

Thompson Avenue–or Christmas Tree Lane–can be a difficult place to stand out this time of year. But at one home, even more popular than Snoopy Seth Curray, was a laser light display.

“We actually used three of them to cover the whole house,” said Brandi Castillo, who set up the laser light display.

Castillo said the new laser lights did take extra attention this year.

“Because when we were placing it, it goes straight into houses, so we were watching that too,” Castillo said.

On Thursday in Texas, an American Airlines pilot was hit by a laser while flying at 13,000 feet. Police traced the beam back to a home with a laser light display.

In November, a similar incident happened in Sacramento involving a helicopter.

Blinding a pilot on purpose can result in an $11,000 fine.

But the FAA said it realizes laser hits from a light display are accidental.

In the two known incidents, the homeowners were simply asked to adjust their displays.

Castillo said it is a good warning as these lights become more popular.

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