Holiday laser lights can pose aviation safety threat: Nav Canada

In this Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015, file photo, a nearly-full moon is seen among Christmas lights at a holiday display near Lenexa, Kan. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Nav Canada is reminding people to be careful when installing their holiday lights this season.

The private, non-profit agency said decorative laser lights with “skyward beams” can shine into the cockpit of an aircraft and put pilots and their passengers at risk.

Nav Canada said laser projectors that shine festive images on houses must be aimed at solid surfaces and not towards the sky.

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“Many people are surprised to learn that these popular holiday light kits can be as potentially dangerous as other type of lasers,” the agency said.

“Consumers are asked to read the warning labels on the package and carefully follow the directions when setting up the display.”

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Anyone who lives within 10 kilometres of an airport should make sure the laser projection doesn’t extend in the sky beyond their home.

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“In recent weeks, there has been a spike in the number of laser strikes reported by pilots,” Nav Canada said. “The increase is likely to be due to improper use of holiday lights.”

Established in 1996, Nav Canada provides air traffic control, airport advisory services, weather briefings and aeronautical information services for more than 18 million square kilometres of Canadian domestic and international airspace.

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