Before You Use “Star Shower” To Light Up Your Home For Xmas, Familiarize Yourself With Your Local Airport’s Flight Path

We’ve written before about jerks who deliberately point lasers at nearby planes, and we’ve also covered businesses that don’t realize that their rooftop light shows might present a hazard, but now some homeowners may be unintentionally blinding pilots by misusing their home decorations.

You might have seen the TV ads for a product called Star Shower, that covers your home in points of light so that you don’t have to risk life and limb stringing lights in trees and along your roofline. While it might be a time-saver for folks who want to sparkle-up their holiday, it could be a blinding hazard to pilots in the sky above.

NBC Los Angeles reports on a recent incident involving a U.S. Coast Guard plane that reported what appeared to be a laser strike near Sacramento, only to find out that it was a home using Star Shower.

The instructions for the product warn users that “lasers should not be projected at or within the flight path of an aircraft within ten nautical miles of an airport,” but as this example shows, not everyone is reading the instructions — or if they are reading them, they may not even know where they are in relation to the flight path of their local airport.

Nothing happened to the pilot in the Coast Guard plane, but a helicopter pilot for the L.A. County Sheriff tells NBC that he’s experienced “flash blindness” firsthand.

“Everything goes away except green,” says the pilot. “The worst part about it is the pain. It can cause anything from a mild distraction to a complete incapacitation of the pilot resulting in the aircraft crashing.”

He says he would be very wary of pointing a Star Shower or any similar laser projector into the sky because “it could conceivably have the same negative affects to pilots as one of the single pen light lasers.”

In a statement, the makers of Star Shower reiterate that, “Lasers should not be projected at or within the flight path of an aircraft within 10 nautical miles of an airport. If your intended surface is within 10 nautical miles of an airport, lower the angle of the Star Shower so that no lasers point into the sky.”

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