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Is simply shining a Class 3+ laser into the sky illegal?

paul1598419

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well in my place i live in a city where are flight lines above me but the airport is outside of the city so the aircrafts fly low enough to see them clearly and also hear the noise, i only do beamshots abit late at night and im still afraid because 1 time i heard an angry voice of an old man(never noticed exactly where he was) and last thing i want is someone call the cops and find a class 3+ laser in my house.
i dont know about the exact laws but i suggest you to use your lasers as private as you can and avoid as many eyes as you can
You are protected against warrantless searches of your home, so I wouldn't worry about the cops bursting in to search your house. Even drug dealers are protected against these kinds of searches. As Alaskan said, it is not illegal to possess a class IV laser of any kind, so don't let fear take over. :)
 

Razako

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You are protected against warrantless searches of your home, so I wouldn't worry about the cops bursting in to search your house. Even drug dealers are protected against these kinds of searches. As Alaskan said, it is not illegal to possess a class IV laser of any kind, so don't let fear take over. :)
/This
I feel like some people are letting fear take over on this issue. You won't have much fun with lasers if you just hide in the basement with them and never use them outdoors.

That isn't to say you should go looking for trouble though. Just use common sense and it should be fine.
 

Alaskan

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What concerns me is if my neighbour sees me outside beaming into the night sky, then someone in my same area points at an airplane, they see it came from near my place, police come looking and someone points at me as the guy with a laser, must have been him! I suppose that is too weak to arrest you though, maybe I shouldn't worry.
 

steve001

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Back on that 10 Nm rule for the FAA, I cannot find the FAA regulation detailing it. There are lots of advisories and various other documents, but I just can't find the actual law. I feel like it's probably somewhere at this point though.

If this is 100% a legitimately written law though, US LPFers need to really be careful at 12 miles from airports as I'm sure that distance feels safe enough for most members here. Heck, probably a good bit of members are within 12 miles of an airport.
See my link in post 6. You can't find it because there is none. Why some are presenting incorrect opinion is caused by a misunderstanding. The FAA only requests non mandatory compliance for certain laser activities.
 

Alaskan

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If that is true, then there should be no problem using a laser pointer in the night sky, or daytime, as long as you don't flash an aircraft, I'm happy with that.
 

Rivem

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See my link in post 6. You can't find it because there is none. Why some are presenting incorrect opinion is caused by a misunderstanding. The FAA only requests non mandatory compliance for certain laser activities.
Yep. I found the original wording in an FAA advisory. It isn't federal law and cannot be enforced. That said, saying it doesn't exist is also somewhat incorrect. Federal advisories aren't law, but they're an example of where the law may very well be heading. State laws are a whole other beast that might actually make advisories law, but I don't think that any state enforces this one.

As always, use your best judgement and spread good laser practices, or we all might be stuck inside.

VISUAL EFFECT CALCULATIONS - If the laser has no wavelengths in the visible range (400-700 nm), enter “N/A (nonvisible
laser)” in these blocks and go to the next section. For visible lasers, the FAA is concerned about beams that are eye-safe
(below the MPE) but are bright enough to distract aircrews. The FAA has therefore established “Sensitive,” “Critical” and
“Laser-Free” areas where aircraft should not be exposed to light above 100µW/cm2
, 5µW/cm2
, and 50nW/cm2
respectively.
Because apparent brightness varies with wavelength – green is more visible than red or blue – a visual effect correction factor can
be applied if desired. This has the effect of allowing more power for red and blue beams than for green beams
The zones are defined by the expected altitude of aircraft.
1. Laser Free Zone (LFZ): Airspace in the
immediate proximity of the airport, up to and
including 2,000 feet AGL, extending 2 nautical miles
in all directions measured from the runway centerline.
Additionally, the LFZ includes a 3nm extension,
2,500 feet each side of the extended runway
centerline, up to 2,000 feet AGL of each useable
runway surface. The level of laser light is restricted
to a level that should not cause any visual disruption.
2. Critical Flight Zone (CFZ): Airspace within a
10-nautical-mile (nm) radius of the Airport Reference
Point (ARP), up to and including 10,000 feet AGL,
where a level of laser light is restricted to avoid
flashblindness or afterimage effects.
3. Sensitive Flight Zone (SFZ): Airspace outside
the Critical Flight Zone(s) that authorities (e.g., FAA,
local departments of aviation, military, etc.) have
identified that must be protected from flashblindness
or afterimage effects.
4. Normal Flight Zone (NFZ): Airspace not defined
by the Laser Free, Critical, or Sensitive Flight Zones.
EDIT: Just to be clear, using a laser outdoors in line of sight ("LFZ") to an airport might not be illegal, but it's still incredibly stupid, so be sure you aren't doing it.
 
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steve001

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If that is true, then there should be no problem using a laser pointer in the night sky, or daytime, as long as you don't flash an aircraft, I'm happy with that.
More specifically even if anyone did flash inadvertently, pilots are smart enough to know the difference between an oops and a deliberate targeting.
 

steve001

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Yep. I found the original wording in an FAA advisory. It isn't federal law and cannot be enforced. That said, saying it doesn't exist is also somewhat incorrect. Federal advisories aren't law, but they're an example of where the law may very well be heading. State laws are a whole other beast that might actually make advisories law, but I don't think that any state enforces this one.

As always, use your best judgement and spread good laser practices, or we all might be stuck inside.



The zones are defined by the expected altitude of aircraft.


EDIT: Just to be clear, using a laser outdoors in line of sight ("LFZ") to an airport might not be illegal, but it's still incredibly stupid, so be sure you aren't doing it.
I agree. My bone of contention are opinions offered as fact. All one has to do is spend sometime reading these documents to know what is and is not true.
 
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You are protected against warrantless searches of your home, so I wouldn't worry about the cops bursting in to search your house. Even drug dealers are protected against these kinds of searches. As Alaskan said, it is not illegal to possess a class IV laser of any kind, so don't let fear take over. :)
thats right but lets say a stupid guy when he is bored keep aiming a cheap 532nm laser at the aircrafts often,so how can the cops find him and arrest him?

i know im not doing anything stupid or hurting someone but i still feel better if the neighbors don't know about my lasers.

just a very crazy example,imagine that let your neighbors know how powerfull your new laser is and what can do with your new beam expander,some days later something goes wrong on lets say electricity and your neighbors balcony garden or whatever else catch fire.they can even blame you for something crazy that you never did
 
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Alaskan

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I imagine, if this stuff keeps up someday there will be equipment sold which will auto triangulate laser beams anywhere near an airport, perhaps a system put onboard commercial airliners to spot and auto report when a laser is beamed at them with their location and a record of the incident.

Edit:

just a very crazy example,imagine that let your neighbors know how powerfull your new laser is and what can do with your new beam expander,some days later something goes wrong on lets say electricity and your neighbors balcony garden or whatever else catch fire.they can even blame you for something crazy that you never did
__________________
I agree, when I was doing night sky beaming if I saw a car coming from the distance, or someone outside, I'd turn it off and go inside. I don't want to have something like that happen. Too cautious? Perhaps, perhaps very, but I like it.
 
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paul1598419

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You aren't going to be arrested because it is common knowledge that you own powerful lasers. That doesn't even pass the preponderance of the evidence, much less beyond a reasonable doubt standard. You can have a whole bunch of neighborhood kids playing with lasers, but to make a case against you for being guilty of this takes real evidence....... not just,"hey, that guy has lasers".
 

Alaskan

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Well, if I did accidentally flash an aircraft, and they came looking for me, more people knowing where I live would make it that much easier to find me. I've posted a story here several times in the past, I will repeat it here in this thread, some years ago I was shooting my 4 watt 532nm laser over the top of a nearby mountaintop, I believe the top was at 2500 feet above the city and then I saw lights over the mountain, immediately tipped my laser strait up (fastest thing I could do as a lab laser and the switch a few feet away) and then turned it off. That light kept getting brighter and brighter, two of them. I could then see it was a commuter airliner and it kept coming, flew strait over me at about 1000 feet, maybe 800 or even lower, memory fading now so I don't know for sure, but exactly over me. I probably hit him five miles out and he bee lines over me on his way to an airport about 12 miles west of me. He shouldn't have been that low that far out, I believe he was telling me yea bud, you flashed me, and I know where from.

I took that laser out of the house and put it somewhere else, not even on the property for a long time. I learned a lesson, do not do sky beaming low to the horizon, or over mountains, you can't see what is coming and with a high power lab laser you could flash blind a pilot many miles further away than you can see them. OK, now chew me out for it if you guys want, better I tell the story to help someone from doing the same thing, I think. I prefer to use my lasers at high angles now so I can be sure to see what is, or isn't up there.
 
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paul1598419

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If the commuter flight went out of its way to fly over you, what did the police do when they showed up or called you? If it was a conscious effort on the part of the pilot, he must have done it to locate you. And only flying 1000 feet off the ground, he must have gotten a very good idea where you were. On the other hand, it might have been totally innocent and your paranoia made this story fit your imagined fear.
 

Benm

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More specifically even if anyone did flash inadvertently, pilots are smart enough to know the difference between an oops and a deliberate targeting.
I'm quite sure they could tell the difference between an accidental brief strike and a sustained targetted illumination.

The question is more what they will report about the matter. If they want lasers banned they'll probably report any incident as 'intentional'. On the other hand there are pilots that also like lasers and probably will not report anything at all if there was no real danger to begin with.

If you do live in an area where commercial flights come over as low as 1000 ft you should be careful though, big jets never fly this low unless landing or taking off, or due to some emergency that will probably result in a crash.
 

steve001

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Well, if I did accidentally flash an aircraft, and they came looking for me, more people knowing where I live would make it that much easier to find me. I've posted a story here several times in the past, I will repeat it here in this thread, some years ago I was shooting my 4 watt 532nm laser over the top of a nearby mountaintop, I believe the top was at 2500 feet above the city and then I saw lights over the mountain, immediately tipped my laser strait up (fastest thing I could do as a lab laser and the switch a few feet away) and then turned it off. That light kept getting brighter and brighter, two of them. I could then see it was a commuter airliner and it kept coming, flew strait over me at about 1000 feet, maybe 800 or even lower, memory fading now so I don't know for sure, but exactly over me. I probably hit him five miles out and he bee lines over me on his way to an airport about 12 miles west of me. He shouldn't have been that low that far out, I believe he was telling me yea bud, you flashed me, and I know where from.

I took that laser out of the house and put it somewhere else, not even on the property for a long time. I learned a lesson, do not do sky beaming low to the horizon, or over mountains, you can't see what is coming and with a high power lab laser you could flash blind a pilot many miles further away than you can see them. OK, now chew me out for it if you guys want, better I tell the story to help someone from doing the same thing, I think. I prefer to use my lasers at high angles now so I can be sure to see what is, or isn't up there.
I like long range spotting. Did you do that with your 4W laser. If so what was the maximum distance you could see the spot?
 

BobMc

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Back on that 10 Nm rule for the FAA, I cannot find the FAA regulation detailing it. There are lots of advisories and various other documents, but I just can't find the actual law. I feel like it's probably somewhere at this point though.

If this is 100% a legitimately written law though, US LPFers need to really be careful at 12 miles from airports as I'm sure that distance feels safe enough for most members here. Heck, probably a good bit of members are within 12 miles of an airport.

I seem to remember reading the law about the 10 mile restriction somewhere about 6 months ago. I've looked for it again but can't seem to find it? :thinking:
 




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