15
$\begingroup$

Tonight's fireworks got me wondering: With all of the firework displays happening at the same time, how do they keep aircraft away from them? Is there any risk of collision or blinding the pilots? Is there anything that pilots need to do differently when fireworks are in the area?

$\endgroup$
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I haven't seen many commercial fireworks displays off the departure end of an active runway. $\endgroup$ – Dan Pichelman Jan 1 '14 at 16:01
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DanPichelman I saw a bunch of them last night well inside the Class D ring of my home field - Somehow I doubt anyone notified the tower they were putting on a display (but hey they close the tower at 11 - maybe they called & nobody answered? :) $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jan 1 '14 at 17:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Since this question is not country specific, I would like to mention that fireworks of pretty much any kind can be used at any time in India legally. The only laws that restrict fireworks apply to decibel levels of said fireworks. $\endgroup$ – asheeshr Jan 2 '14 at 1:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In some countries it's illegal to launch fireworks in the vicinity of airports. I always thought this was the case in the US as well, perhaps I'm mistaken. $\endgroup$ – falstro Jan 2 '14 at 18:20
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I would venture that not many people are firing off commercial-grade fireworks. And those that are have already run through the restrictions of firing them around aircraft operations. Any consumer-grade fireworks aren't very likely able to reach any safe-flying aircraft. And if someone were intentionally launching them off near an approach or departure end of a runway (despite the quick potential for a visit from the authorities), I'd guess they'd be pretty unlikely to be large enough to seriously harm an aircraft. $\endgroup$ – Shawn Jan 9 '14 at 15:40
8
$\begingroup$

In and I assume in a similar way in the United States, fireworks are treated like any other obstacle such as a communication tower, building, or crane. The location and elevation of the firework activity is assessed for impacts to any instrument procedures, airways, minimum altitude areas, etc. and NOTAM to temporarily amend affected procedures will be issued prior to the activity to advertise the changes and their effective periods.

Having said that, this doesn't address the VFR side of things. Operating near fireworks is essentially the same see and be seen idea. NOTAM get issued here all the time for the fireworks activity themselves and they would include a radius from the centre point. Simply avoiding the area is usually sufficient.

$\endgroup$
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ This is what usually happens in the US as well - but an important caveat is that it generally only happens for organized displays. When somebody decides to launch some bottle rockets from their back yard there is usually no notice (especially if there's no permit & the display is technically illegal) - it's basically "big sky theory" & the generally low likelihood of a plane and a mortar shell being in the same place at the same time... $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Jan 1 '14 at 17:51
3
$\begingroup$

In addition to the previous answer, there are often TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions) around the areas of organized fireworks displays- before you fly you're responsible for knowing where these locations are and not flying into that airspace.

As far as avoiding the stray bottle rocket, hopefully you're high enough in cruise and lucky enough in takeoff/landing to avoid these hazards.

As far as blinding, the fireworks can take away your night vision if you're close enough but I don't think it would blind. At least it has never happened to me.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

Most firework displays peak at about 200 feet above the launching site. Any aircraft low enough to tangle with fireworks is too low anyway.

Pilots see fireworks as little flowers on the ground. They are not big or impressive from the air.

Also, the individual stars, and even the shells, do not weigh much. Unless a firework went into a jet engine, it could not damage an aircraft.

$\endgroup$
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE. Aircrafts are easily below 200 feet for takeoff and landing, this might suggest that special regulations exists for fireworks near airfields. For your last assertion, do you have any data or source? $\endgroup$ – Federico Jul 4 '15 at 10:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.