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Thread: Lasers on a moving truck in a Mardi Gras parade - How'd they get the ok from the FAA?

  1. #1
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    Default Lasers on a moving truck in a Mardi Gras parade - How'd they get the ok from the FAA?

    I live in New Orleans and right now we are in the busiest part of Mardi Gras. I usually go to Bacchus - a "super krewe" parade - but missed it this year (last night). My friend texted me videos of a truck in the parade blowing confetti with a sky-tracker search light - nothing unusual about that - but with two multiwatt RGB lasers launching purple green & gold (Mardi Gras Colors) beams over the crowd and into the sky!

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    https://youtu.be/7bW8y0Rtdg0

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7bW8y0Rtdg0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    I just can't see how this was approved by the FAA. There is always a Coast Guard helicopter constantly circling above the parade. Plus something new I noticed during a parade Sunday morning was a Homeland Security helicopter circling above. Additionally there are usually commercial jets flying over on their way to the airport about 10 miles away.

    From what I've seen, this looked very impressive. My friend who was at the parade was impressed. There are many videos on instagram and other sites. http://seen.co/event/mardi-gras-2015...ghlight/154209 People seemed to really like it.

    Even with a audience scanning variance, it seems that there are too many non-terminated beams going into building windows, balconies with people watching the parade, and into the sky for any regulatory agency to think this is ok. How could this get FAA approval? I'm not saying that I think this should have been automatically declined. But with so many stories about laser pointer incidents and hype about planes/pilots and eye damage, this is a miracle they pulled it off successfully. Have the CDRH/FAA relaxed rules for outdoor shows. I have always been hesitant to try to get approval for an outdoor show because I figure it is too much hassle and not worth the effort, so I only do indoor events.

    Leading up to Mardi Gras, the news media repeatedly reported on how there is unprecedented police/gov. agent presence due to heightened terrorism concerns - this would explain the Homeland security helicopter.

    I checked out the website of the sky-tracker provider and they offer search lights, up-lighting for events, confetti cannons, etc but there is no mention of lasers or holding a variance.

    Anyone with experience doing outdoor shows / getting FAA approval have any insight they want to share?
    Last edited by djeric68; 02-08-2016 at 06:29. Reason: typos
    Eric in New Orleans

  2. #2
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    They are terminating on buildings too.. and you cant see who is on the balconies or in the windows. They also cant see if there are any reflections. That is the problem with moving laser displays. You cant see what you are terminating on. Maybe it is legal.. but I am going to guess it was done illegally and NO fucks given.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by drm916 View Post
    They are terminating on buildings too.. and you cant see who is on the balconies or in the windows. They also cant see if there are any reflections. That is the problem with moving laser displays. You cant see what you are terminating on. Maybe it is legal.. but I am going to guess it was done illegally and NO fucks given.
    I was thinking the same as you. It does look awesome in the pics/videos, but I just don't see how this was approved. I hope they did do it legally because that means it should be much easier for me to get an outdoor show approved that terminates on the side of a windowless building here in the city. I do a gig here every August inside a large building and always wanted to do something on the outside wall for people walking into the venue.

    I wonder how much power each projector puts out. Lots of ambient light with the skytrackers and regular street lights too.

    This is a picture of the 2 projectors on the pickup truck...
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Eric in New Orleans

  4. #4
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    Those look like big ole 20-30watt projectors. They are pretty big.

  5. #5
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    Fwiw,
    Not me, but a laser co. Local to me, has done something similiar, but on a boat parade, and he was able to get FAA clearance for his show,

    So lets not assume anything, untill you are sure?

    Just my .02
    RGB laser projectors
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  6. #6
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    I am less concerned about the open air.. and more about the termination on the uncontrolled areas (like balconies). Its hard to tell from the video, so of course we should assume they took all the precautions. It is a curious thing though and I would love to do something similar.

  7. #7
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    Half the stuff at Mardi Gras isn't sane, safe, or legal. Why should the lasers be any different?

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    It is possible to get clearance for a moving laser display, we have done it for Burning Man many times. That being said, a laser being mounted on a moving vehicle in a CITY going past tall buildings with people in them, is a VERY BAD idea.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by slicklasers View Post
    It is possible to get clearance for a moving laser display, we have done it for Burning Man many times. That being said, a laser being mounted on a moving vehicle in a CITY going past tall buildings with people in them, is a VERY BAD idea.
    Thats exactly what I thought. I am not worried about the open air unternimated scanning. I was more concerned with terminating on the balconies and buildings. I am hoping the took that into consideration and took proper safety considerations. I would guess anyone that can afford lasers that big.. know the rules and dangers.

    Either way.. it looked pretty cool. I need to figure out how to do that in Atlanta

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnYayas View Post
    Half the stuff at Mardi Gras isn't sane, safe, or legal. Why should the lasers be any different?
    Yes you are right. It is quite a party, but that part is mostly in the French Quarter. Here is a picture of Bourbon St with a "few" people enjoying themselves.

    Attachment 49429

    Parades actually used to roll down Bourbon street until sometime in the late 60s or early 70s before the crowds exploded. Most of the crazy stuff you hear about is actually TOURISTS who are unaccustomed to our 24hr bar scene, Go-Cups and open containers in public. People come here from out of state and think there are no laws to follow. I always like watching COPS episodes when they go to Mardi Gras...



    Most residents don't go to the Quarter/Bourbon Street for Mardi Gras because the tourists get wasted, act foolish, start fights, flash for beads (which locals don't do) and throw up all over the place. "We are professionals...don't try this at home!"


    99% of Mardi Gras happens in family friendly areas that the cable TV news channels never show.

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    With that said, if I was younger I would probably be in the Quarter on a Balcony watching the fun from above!
    Eric in New Orleans

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