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National Security and Interception Procedures


−6−17. Visual Warning System (VWS)

The VWS signal consists of highly-focused red and
green colored laser lights designed to illuminate in an
alternating red and green signal pattern. These lasers
may be directed at specific aircraft suspected of
making unauthorized entry into the Washington, DC
Special Flight Rules Area (DC SFRA) proceeding on
a heading or flight path that may be interpreted as a
threat or that operate contrary to the operating rules
for the DC SFRA. The beam is neither hazardous to
the eyes of pilots/aircrew or passengers, regardless of
altitude or distance from the source nor will the beam
affect aircraft systems.


If you are communicating with ATC, and this

signal is directed at your aircraft, you are required to
contact ATC and advise that you are being
illuminated by a visual warning system.


If this signal is directed at you, and you are not

communicating with ATC, you are advised to turn to
the most direct heading away from the center of the
DC SFRA as soon as possible. Immediately contact

ATC on an appropriate frequency, VHF Guard 121.5
or UHF Guard 243.0, and provide your aircraft
identification, position, and nature of the flight.
Failure to follow these procedures may result in
interception by military aircraft. Further noncompli-
ance with interceptor aircraft or ATC may result in the
use of force.


Pilots planning to operate aircraft in or near the

DC SFRA are to familiarize themselves with aircraft
intercept procedures. This information applies to all
aircraft operating within the DC SFRA including
DOD, Law Enforcement, and aircraft engaged in
aeromedical operations and does not change
procedures established for reporting unauthorized
laser illumination as published in FAA Advisory
Circulars and Notices.


CFR 91.161


More details including a video demonstration of

the VWS are available from the following FAA