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Holiday lights could create problem for pilots

The FAA is asking homeowners to make sure their decorations aren't pointed to the sky or pull the plug on them altogether.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many people are using laser displays to light up their homes this holiday season, but the decorations could cause problems for pilots.

"What people don't realize is that once it hits our canopy it just lights up the inside," said pilot Robbie Jones.

The FAA is asking homeowners to make sure their decorations aren't pointed to the sky or pull the plug on them altogether. 

"You have flash blindness, which is exactly what it sounds like," Sgt. Morrie Zager. "It can cause anything from a mild distraction to a complete incapacitation of the pilot resulting in the aircraft crashing."

In 2017, the FAA got nearly 7,000 reports of laser strikes on aircraft. That's a 250% increase since they started tracking laser strikes in 2010. 

At Charlotte Douglas International Airport, there have been 35 laser strikes to aircraft as of June 15, including two strikes in a four-day span in March. Last year, there were 52 laser strikes.  

Intentionally aiming a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety risk and violates federal law.

If your decoration lights are aimed at the sky, you may be asked to adjust them. If you don't comply, it could lead to a civil penalty. 

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