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Old 07-20-2012, 05:54 AM   #1
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Default Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

The question has been asked a thousand times, but, no matter how hard I look, I can't seem to find a direct answer. I see yes, I see no and "it's only illegal if you get caught" . So what is it ?

Is it YES

Or is it NO

as in, if a police saw you pointing it in the sky, would they arrest you? I'm aware it's illegal to point them at vehicles, aircrafts, and people, but what if your just pointing it in the sky for fun? I live in Goleta, California.

Thanks for reading
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

I may be corrected on this.

But technically, I think anything over 5mw isn't legal to use outside no matter where you point it unless you have a variance.

Someone from PL could probably tell you more though.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

So if I lived within 10 miles of the airport, its illegal to point a 150mw greeny around? And if I was no where near an airport it would be legal?
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:55 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

That sounds good just to be safe, whether or not it's legal is up in the air it would seem.

it sounds like you would be legal with any power as long as your not doing a laser show or surveying something


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So if I lived within 10 miles of the airport, its illegal to point a 150mw greeny around? And if I was no where near an airport it would be legal?
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

In a nutshell, it seems like: if nothing happens, you'll be fine.
If something happens: you're in deep sh*t

My personal advice would be to take a drive to a local park and use your laser there. If you see a plane, just leave the park. In all honesty, unless you seriously cause an accident, the police aren't gonna do full forensics to catch the infamous star-pointer of Goleta California.

Don't let the thought of getting away with it make you more lax about safety. BE SAFE. You could potentially (worst case scenario) put the lives of hundreds of people in jeopardy. Did I mention to keep safe? Just Checkin'.
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

@Mac - Since it looks like you did the research on this recently, any idea if there are any laws regarding possession of a laser pointer?
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Old 07-25-2012, 06:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

Thanks for the help guys I just needed to know, for, when I get a new laser, the first thing I do is see how visible at night.

Oh and also, just the other day, I was testing a 5mw greenie for visibility and I accidentally hit my neighbors front yard palm tree for a second. He came out and threatened to call the cops if I didn't stop waving it around.

Obviously, I stopped waving it around to avoid the police, but is it legal to point lasers at people's property? I haven't read any law against it, but I wouldn't point lasers at peoples stuff on purpose just to be safe.

I don't think I'll be outside with lasers anymore if this proves to be illegal...
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

You're in a murky area as far as pointing it at property. Is there a law specifically against it? No.

Can he claim that you were shining it at his windows to harass him? Yes.

Sounds like you have a jackass of a neighbor. Best to avoid him, and point in the other direction.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

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Originally Posted by InfinitusEquitas View Post
Sounds like you have a jackass of a neighbor
Yup, I use to have a great neighbor, but they moved out and was replaced by a family of asshats . I think what Quetzal said was the best solution, (Thanks Quetzal! ) I think I'll be doing that now to avoid conflicts.
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Old 07-26-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

And thanks isaidhi for making another thread I was confused myself xD
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Old 07-30-2012, 09:43 PM   #11
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidhi3 View Post
Thanks for the help guys I just needed to know, for, when I get a new laser, the first thing I do is see how visible at night.

Oh and also, just the other day, I was testing a 5mw greenie for visibility and I accidentally hit my neighbors front yard palm tree for a second. He came out and threatened to call the cops if I didn't stop waving it around.

Obviously, I stopped waving it around to avoid the police, but is it legal to point lasers at people's property? I haven't read any law against it, but I wouldn't point lasers at peoples stuff on purpose just to be safe.

I don't think I'll be outside with lasers anymore if this proves to be illegal...

I'm paranoid about this one, even though we have good neighbors I never allow any beam to cross my own property line. I use my shed or the tree as a beam stop.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:40 AM   #12
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgchaser View Post
I'm paranoid about this one, even though we have good neighbors I never allow any beam to cross my own property line. I use my shed or the tree as a beam stop.
This picture Brings up a question. What if the neighbor peeks over the fence or through the slots in the fence? Will they be at risk for retinal damage if looking st the lbeam on the barn?
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:47 AM   #13
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

It really depends on how reflective that barn side is. It's probably okay since I doubt that barn is shiny, but without measurements, it's hard to determine.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidhi3 View Post
Thanks for the help guys I just needed to know, for, when I get a new laser, the first thing I do is see how visible at night.

Oh and also, just the other day, I was testing a 5mw greenie for visibility and I accidentally hit my neighbors front yard palm tree for a second. He came out and threatened to call the cops if I didn't stop waving it around.

Obviously, I stopped waving it around to avoid the police, but is it legal to point lasers at people's property? I haven't read any law against it, but I wouldn't point lasers at peoples stuff on purpose just to be safe.

I don't think I'll be outside with lasers anymore if this proves to be illegal...
Your neighbors are mean, All of my neighbors thought it was cool when I brought out my laser a few times. I believe it is legal to shine it at the sky, as long as it isn't at aircraft.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:20 AM   #15
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by madmacmo View Post
Here's where US Federal law gets a bit ambiguous about "Outdoor Laser Use"

LaserPointerSafety.com -U.S.: Illegal to aim laser pointers at aircraft or their flight path




So it is subject to interpretation within the law above for civil penalties for shining a laser into an "aircraft's flight path" with enforcement by the FAA through local police/sheriff/constables.

LaserPointerSafety.com - US: Latest 2012 laser/aircraft incident statistics



Note that any laser beam visible by a pilot during flight can and will be reported as a “laser incident”, regardless of whether it is an actual hazard or not, nor whether it is logical or reasonable for the FAA to track it as a valid aircraft “laser incident.

So in consideration of the above, the apparent risk of any outdoor skyward laser use (while being well outside the FAA defined laser free space around an airport) would be:
) To inadvertently illuminate an "unseen" aircraft or its flight path (Obviously aircraft at high altitude at night may not be readily distinguishable from the back ground of stars, where enough time should be spent scanning the sky to make certain the area the laser will be directed is free and clear of any aircraft's signature tell-tale point of light movements)
) If the laser beam is observed and reported by an aircraft pilot as a FAA-reportable laser incident

So how much effort will the FAA exert to enforce either of the above is probably not very great. The one thing I am concerned about is how many of us in using our laser pointers outdoors have contributed to the FAA's “laser incident” running total of events.

Otherwise, it should be noted that the general public seems to often call the police when any outside laser use is witnessed. Case in point, I have seen several local accounts reported in the police log section of the news where individuals made such reports and officers were dispatched to investigate, although I am unaware of any local laws against such use. Law enforcement have also been known to arrest first only to let the court system work it out.

I don't know if any of this helps or not as this is just my take on the subject, where I am not a lawyer and my 2 cents may be overvalued.

If you, or anyone else have any questions about aviation, FAA, etc - feel free to contact me. I am an airline Transport Pilot - and was an FAA accident Prevention Counselor.

I have never seen a pilot report a laser event unless the beam was directed directly into the cockpit window.

I can also tell you, where there are multiple events, there are laser tracking helicopters dispatched that can use several seconds of Lansing to triangulate the location of the offending laser to within 15 feet. People have been caught.

Certain airports have a higher rate of occurrences and in some cases I have even seen NOTAMS ( notices to airmen) warning of - and asking for reports if it occurs.

I am new here but not new to lasers. I built mu own lasers 20 years ago. I am interested in getting back into it (it seems a lot easier to build these days) and much much cheaper too. 1-2 watts for a couple hundred dollars. That was unheard of in the 1990's.

This is my first post - hope to learn a lot from you - and hope I can help any way I can

J
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:10 PM   #16
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Default Re: Is it legal to point a 150mw green laser in the sky? In the US?

Welcome to LPF!

Lasers have come down in price incredibly over the past few years. The kind of power you could produce now is astonishing compared to what was available only 5-6 years ago, from a price point perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captainjman View Post
I have never seen a pilot report a laser event unless the beam was directed directly into the cockpit window.

I can also tell you, where there are multiple events, there are laser tracking helicopters dispatched that can use several seconds of Lansing to triangulate the location of the offending laser to within 15 feet. People have been caught.
That's good to know... I always wonder how inflated the reports are, considering that by the book at least, any time a pilot sees a laser beam, not just direct hit to the cockpit, they are supposed to report it.

I would imagine, unless ground units are dispatched right away, too many people would get away with it though.

Have you heard of any non green laser pointer incidents?
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