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So since these are legal

learntolift

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At night for example, we can stand outside our house and shine the sky or say a mountain, and won't get in trouble? Like what would be on/off limits so I don't get police showing up at my house trying to confiscate a perfectly legal item?

Is there anything else like this to be aware of before operating, as far as "getting in trouble" goes?

Of course using common sense is required but I mean on a broader level like I just mentioned; shining at the sky or a mountain won't get us in trouble?


And say an officer does approach, how can we prove it's legal if he tries to take it or something?
 
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Mohrenberg

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There are no federal laws against having a laser or shining it into the sky that I am aware of.
You just have to be very careful not to hit any aircrafts in the process as that is a felony and will get you a few years in prison.
I normally watch the sky for a bit before i turn the laser on to make sure there are no aircrafts that I can see...

A lot of local cities have ordinances against laser pointers so if you're within city limits there is a chance it may be taken away if you're caught.

Just use it as a responsible adult and you won't have any trouble.

You don't really have to prove anything is legal. They need to prove it's illegal. If a cop wants to take it, just give it to them and then file a complaint later.
 
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ixfd64

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It is my understanding that the FDA requires the user to have a variance when a class IIIb or IV laser is used for "demonstration" or "entertainment" purposes. However, this law isn't exactly clear, and there is belief that it only applies to commercial applications (e.g., laser shows).

My advice is to just use common sense.
 
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blasterman

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Cops in my city (michigan) will confiscate any laser pointer visible or in use in a public place. Period - no questions. There is no official ordinance - they'll take them anyways.

Reading between the lines the intent of this is basically if they can see a laser pointer in public chances are the owner is being an idiot anyways. So, is does kind of make sense ......in a draconian way.

A hand held laser shot into the night sky is only visible from a target being struck such as an airplane, or top penthouse of a skyscraper (I can tell humorous stories about the later when I was a teen). Or, the people on the ground next to you. The laser *is not* visible off axis for much distance, especially a 445. Different story if it's a 20watt Argon. If you don't believe me, set your pointer on the ground facing up, and walk away until the beam isn't visible. Won't be very far. So, this notion that shining your laser up in the sky will attract the attention of a cop a few block away via the beam in the air is silly.

A few years ago a friend of a friend got a citation for shining his 20mW green pointer on the sidewalk from his 3rd story condo. You know....shine the dot on the ground ahead of pedestrians leaving a bar and watch their reactions along with their pets suddenly charging after the dot. I nearly pee'd myself when I saw a pitbull take off after the dot and nearly rip the arms off his owner. Harmless fun, but I was like 'dude, this is hysterical, but you're going to get in trouble'. Sure enough, a cop was ticketing a parked car, saw the dot, and he got a ticket.

Short story...use common sense. If everybody owned 5mw pointers the FDA would say you have to stay under 1mw.
 

daguin

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I'll have to look it up again, but it is illegal to shine a laser "over the horizon" without the appropriate variance

However, with pointers, they are usually just confiscated based in the "public nuisance" laws.

Peace,
dave
 
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In terms of preventing shining lasers near airplanes, has anyone here used Flightaware dot com to check for air traffic in the area?

It has live flight tracking and is really helpful because you can bring up a google earth type view of your region and it will show all the moving air traffic nearby in realtime. A few times I have heard a plane go over my house late at night, and immediately gone to flightaware and have seen the plane on the map right where it should be based on where I have heard the sound.

I used to just check the flight schedueles (arrivals and departures) on the local airport website, but they do not list general aviation such as private airplanes or non passenger services like UPS etc. Probably the only thing you can not see tracked live on the map on flightaware is military flights, but here where I live there is hardly anything military nor any nearby bases so I'm not too worried.

The moving map of planes also lists their speed and altitude in real time as well which is helpful.
 
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DrSid

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I use flightradar24.com. I also have ADS-B receiver. But those won't show low flying small aircraft and helicopters, where the danger to the airplane is higher .. and so is the chance of them reporting to local authorities.
 

blasterman

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If you have to check air traffic control before shining your laser up in the sky you are likely living next to O'hare airport ;) If there's an airplane or helicopter flying low over head here's what you do; don't point your laser at it.

Assuming you are out in the sticks somewhere or on a hike, and shining your laser around the night sky we seriously shouldn't be worrying about hitting an aircraft at cruising altitude by accident.
 




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