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Lights, Fireworks, Toy Balloons

The use of lasers, searchlights, fireworks and helium-filled toy balloons has the potential to impact upon aviation activity.

  • Lasers and searchlights can dazzle pilots
  • Unexpected fireworks could distract and confuse pilots and cause damage to aircraft in flight
  • Helium-filled toy balloons and sky lanterns have the potential of causing damage to engines through ingestion

The procedures below are based from UK Civil Aviation Authority processes published in CAP736.

If you are considering a balloon release, please read The Isle of Man Single Use Plastics Reduction Plan.


Organisers should notify the Isle of Man Civil Aviation Administration of their proposed activity by completing CAA Form 3 giving 28 days’ advance notification of the following events:

Any firework or laser/searchlight display south of a line drawn east/west generally from Douglas Head through Mount Murray and Cringle Plantation as shown by the blue shaded area on the map below:

firework or laser/searchlight display south of a line drawn east-west

Any release of more than 100 helium-filled toy balloons that takes place south of a line drawn east /west through Snaefell as shown by the red shaded area on the map below:

release of helium-filled toy balloons or sky lanterns that take place south

The Isle of Man Civil Aviation Administration will then look to deconflict or co-ordinate the activity, as well as promulgate warnings to the aviation community and establish any control measures considered necessary.

Releases of 2000 or more balloons require permission from the IOM CAA regardless of location.

Permanently Sited Lasers and Searchlights

Any laser or searchlight site that is likely to remain in position for more than 30 days is considered a permanent site and may therefore be subject to planning consultation arrangements. Not every site will be significant to aviation, but the Isle of Man Civil Aviation Administration should be consulted during the initial planning process for any such installation.

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