Ryan David Brown/The New York Times
Could people’s holiday spirit cause problems for pilots steering their aircraft through the skies?
The Federal Aviation Administration is concerned that new holiday light displays that use lasers to project patterns on people’s houses could shoot past the houses into the sky, distracting pilots.
“The FAA’s concern is that lasers — regardless of the source — not be aimed at aircraft where the beams can threaten the safety of a flight,” the agency’s Eastern Region offices said Wednesday in a statement. “Consumers who buy laser light displays should take precautions to make sure that the lights are hitting their houses and not shining off into the sky.”
In November 2015, investigators in Sacramento were surprised when they tracked a laser strike to a Christmas display in a homeowner’s front yard near Sacramento State University, according to USA Today. The laser had interfered with a Coast Guard plane.
A police officer said he was surprised the laser didn’t trace the cockpit, which usually happens when a laser strikes a plane, USA Today reported.
Authorities in Texas had a similar surprise in December 2015, when an American Airlines crew reported a laser strike. It appeared to be coming from a North Texas home’s Christmas display, according to the city’s CBS affiliate. The FAA told them it was the first time they had heard about a holiday display causing problems for planes.
A Dallas police helicopter traced the beam to the home 22 miles east of the airport, the network reported.
The FAA shared both articles on its website.
Six aircraft were struck by lasers in the span of six hours Wednesday morning in Boston. The FAA said those strikes were under investigation, and they wouldn’t comment on the potential source of the beams,
But the general manager for aviation at MedFlight Boston said the lasers that hit the organization’s helicopter on two separate flights followed the aircraft for 10 to 15 seconds, likely ruling out a coincidental strike from a display.
The forecasting industry gets it right a lot, but in the face of ever-changing conditions, sometimes even the professionals get it wrong.Continue reading »
Police also seized a .45 caliber pistol, more than 350 rounds of ammunition, and a black tactical vest with ballistic armor.Continue reading »
Senator Karen Spilka trumpeted a “new era” in the Senate, while Chandler said she wants to remain in the post until her term expires Jan. 2.Continue reading »
Real ID licenses will be needed by late 2020 to board domestic flights and to enter federal buildings.Continue reading »
Who would win in a match-up between the 45th president and the former vice president? Let’s look at the stats.Continue reading »
The new driver’s licenses, known as Real ID, require drivers to show more documents to prove US citizenship or lawful presence in the country, as well as Massachusetts residency.Continue reading »
A Dorchester woman won a $10 million grand prize in a Massachusetts State Lottery instant game Tuesday.Continue reading »
“There is no need for any citizen in the city of Boston to be carrying high powered weapons of this kind,” police Commissioner William Evans said.Continue reading »
A research team, led by Harvard Medical School and MIT professors, makes old mice seem young again — but it’s still too soon to expect any benefits for humans.Continue reading »