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National Security and Interception Procedures

5−6−17. 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.

a. 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.

b. 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.

c. 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

d. More details including a video demonstration of

the VWS are available from the following FAA