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Are Landing Aeroplanes Affected by Fireworks?

We were recently asked a question about what affect fireworks can have on aeroplanes. The person who asked us the question said they were inspired by the numerous YouTube videos – some of which we have featured here on the Firework Crazy blog in the past – that feature camera carrying drones checking out a fireworks display from above.
You can check out one of these below.

There are also numerous videos and photographs that have been taken by air pilots and passengers.

Do Fireworks Affect Aeroplanes?

Answering this questions is quite straightforward.
Consider this.
At most, firework shells can reach a height of around 1,300 feet, and even then this only applies to a select few, very powerful 10 – 12 inch shells. Most consumer fireworks only fire to a height of around 400 feet, and often are even lower than that.
As for aeroplanes? Well, their usual cruising altitude is 35,000 feet. So, no chance of a firework hitting your aeroplane as you’re relaxing and checking out the view from above the clouds this summer.
We had this conversation with the person who asked, and it all made sense, so they changed the question. Now they wanted to know, do fireworks affect aeroplanes when they’re landing (and taking off)?

Will Fireworks Affect a Landing Aircraft?

The answer, as it is with many questions, is “it depends.”
Given that, as we explained earlier, consumer fireworks will usually only reach 400 feet at most, fireworks only really become an issue during the last mile, during the final approach to the airport. However, what we also need to think about is the land that surrounds airports. There are usually huge swathes of land that surround the runway before you reach the perimeter fence. If someone managed to break through the fence or access the runway area, it is likely they’d be dealt with quickly, particularly as the setting off of fireworks would draw a hell of a lot of attention to them.
One other possibility is that someone mischievous could know the flight path of all incoming aircraft, and if there was public land beneath this then decide to set off fireworks. There have been no known reports of such events occurring, however, and again were this to happen you would imagine the person would be dealt with fairly swiftly.

When Professional Displays Take Place

As noted, professional fireworks can often reach 1,300 feet, which would certainly be more in the domain of being potentially disturbing to an aircraft, particularly as they begin the final approach to the runway.
While the laws and regulations differ from country to country, it is common for pilots to be provided with information around any fireworks displays that are happening close to airports they are flying in or out of. Sometimes pilots are advised not to fly in certain regions while fireworks displays are taking place, although the danger fireworks pose to air traffic is minimal. If you can fly a drone through fireworks without breaking it, chances are that an aeroplane will be fine!
Have a question you want to ask Firework Crazy? No matter how weird you might think it is, we’d be happy to answer it and might even feature it here on the blog. Get in touch now and let us know!

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