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US: Some reports of Christmas laser lights causing interference

There have been 13 incidents reported to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration that involve, or possibly involve, laser Christmas lights, from November 20 through December 2 2017.

The first reported Christmas-related incident of 2017 came on November 20. As of this writing, December 2 is the last date for which incident information is available.

There are 13 days from November 20 through December 2. With 13 potential Christmas-related incidents, that is a rate of one Christmas incident per day.

In the previous 323 days of 2017, from January 1 through November 19, there were 5,734 incidents or 17.8 per day.

So Christmas lights appear to be adding one extra incident per day (a 5.6% increase), early in the holiday season.

This story will be updated as additional December incident data becomes available.

Based on FAA incident reporting. See our page on Christmas holiday laser projectors for more information, plus these pages about holiday lighting reports here and here.

US: "Star Shower" home laser projector interferes with aircraft

A laser projector sold for home use to replace or augment Christmas lights has caused interference with at least six aircraft from November 18 to December 6 2015.

Star Shower laser projector head
The “Star Shower” laser projector, sold for $40 in stores including Wal-Mart, Target and CVS during the 2015 Christmas season. Details on the potential hazard are

On December 3 2015, a commercial airplane at 13,000 feet altitude reported being illuminated by what was believed to be a “laser holiday light display.” The light was traced to a home 22 miles east of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. A pilot who was not involved told CBSDFW that likely the homeowner was asked to re-aim or remove the display, to prevent beams from going in the air. According to the news station, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said was the first case they had heard of, involving holiday laser lights.

However, NBC Los Angeles reported on an earlier incident. On November 18 2015, a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft sent a “distress call” to Sacramento police after being illuminated with laser light. A homeowner was advised to be more careful with the beam location. (It is not known why the FAA was not aware of this earlier incident.) Here is the NBC Los Angeles video:

On December 6 2015, three aircraft reported laser lights which were traced to a holiday display at at home three miles from Kansas City International airport. The homeowner told police he had “no idea he was endangering the public”

From CBSDFW, NBC Los Angeles, KSHB Kansas City. For much more information on the device and its potential hazards, see this LaserPointerSafety.com story.