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Thread: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

  1. #1

    Default Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    I know they are supposed to be safe and so far they seem to be "legal" but never having tried one, I understand they do carry a source of heat into the sky. Not certain, but I think in California any device which contains flame or fire and flies into the air is against the law. Exception might be something like model rockets. The Lanterns look like fun, but I suspect there are states where you might get some nasty opinions from certain police or fire officials. Anyone had any trouble?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Best thing to do is search for your state laws. Most will specifically say what is legal and not legal.
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    Member Array leeca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuntborg View Post
    Best thing to do is search for your state laws. Most will specifically say what is legal and not legal.
    Does any state "specifically say" Sky Lanterns are legal?
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Living in one of the safest and sane states next to NY . I can say nobody will give you any problems with proper USE!!! We have been banging them out for years!!

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    Member Array leeca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Superbang View Post
    Living in one of the safest and sane states next to NY . I can say nobody will give you any problems with proper USE!!! We have been banging them out for years!!
    Yeah maybe so, but that was not the answer to the question.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    The original Model Fireworks Law by the National Fire Protection Association lumps them into the definition of fireworks. Naturally, they are illegal in Maryland.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by leeca View Post
    Does any state "specifically say" Sky Lanterns are legal?
    Yes. North Dakota does.

    The term fireworks means any combustible or explosive composition, or any
    substance or combination of substances or article prepared for the purpose of
    producing a visible or an audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration, or
    detonation. The term includes any blank cartridge, toy pistol, toy cannon, toy cane,
    or toy gun in which an explosive other than a toy paper cap is used; balloon that
    requires fire underneath to propel the balloon; firecracker, torpedo, skyrocket,
    Roman candle, daygo bomb, sparkler, or other item of like construction; item
    containing any explosive or flammable compound; or any tablet or other device
    containing any explosive substance. This section does not apply to any toy paper
    cap containing not more than twenty-five hundredths of a grain [16.20 milligrams] of
    explosive composition per cap.
    It will also describe things that fit into fireworks. If it fits in the description and it is not specifically outlawed then you should be good. ND is just very specific. By the way, ND law says shells can only be 40g.
    I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

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    Member Array SizzBoom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    I have made the decision not to sell Sky Lanterns this year. I had 3 AHJ's request we pull them from our tents. After listening to their rationale, I am going to pull them for all retail sales. The $ from sales is not worth the potential for damage in my opinion. Wind is the main issue. People try to launch these when there is too much wind. Down drafts can bring them down before the flame goes out and in dry climate that can become a big issue.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Not to mention the havock they can cause when idiots light these things too close to major highways, they do come down eventually. Don't get me wrong, I think they are cool, but unless you're in the middle of nowhere I think there's more potential for harm than fun.

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    I'm NOT new! Array firecrackersam's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    I don't think that there is any ban on them by a state because onlinefireworks.com puts them in the ships to all states category. The guys over there do know their laws, so the only thing I can think of would be city restrictions....

    Heres the link:
    http://www.onlinefireworks.com/shipstoallstates.aspx
    Last edited by firecrackersam; March 16th, 2013 at 05:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    I have used them all over the place and talked to local officials all of whom said there is nothing in the laws against them. THAT BEING SAID, I have discontinued using them in highly populated areas as I have even had an issue with them getting stuck in a tree with VERY light wind and the trees branches started to catch fire, and I shoot off a case or two a year so they are not new to me but it was impossible for me to see that there was a stronger current 45-50 feet up in the air which wisked it right into the tree in fall...... I now will only shoot them off in the middle of a field with no wind and even then I try not to if it hasn't rained recently...

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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    just as snaps and girandolas are now being regulated i can see these sky lanterns getting regulated in the same way in the near future.

    the problem with sky lanterns is they are far to complex for the average customer to properly launch.

    guys here on the U are smart enough to launch them properly, the average retail customer may not know what it takes to send them up properly.

    in order to send it up right, you need to go through several steps to ensure that the thing fully inflates, and is able to get altitude fast. most people don't take the time to launch them right, they think the sooner they send them up the longer they will get to see it in the air. this is not a good thing. it takes a good minute or two of the waxed paper burning to properly launch it... i'd guess that proper launches rarely happen outside of this forum.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    It seems to be one of those products which are easily available at the moment because no one has really been paying any attention to them. I suspect whenever the first major problem comes up, probably from an idiot who doesn't know what he is doing, then you will see some kind of "Nationwide Ban" pop up in the newspapers- and that will be the end of that. It's funny though that they have been around now for several years and so far so good.

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    Member Array St1dinoh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Longtimepyro View Post
    It's funny though that they have been around now for several years and so far so good.
    not exactly...

    there's been a few cases already, in fact i think one was in new york where a lantern fell out of the sky on fire and set fire to someone's front porch. i'm sure someone will chime in with verification on that it was a few years ago.

    what scares me is the possibility of some idiot launching them near an airport, or worse, an oil refinery and killing people with them. sure thats the worse case scenario, but it could happen, and how bad would it be if something tragic happens as a result of these things.

    one of the coolest items in a show when shot properly, but one of the worst thing i can think of that winds up in consumer hands.

    the idea of some drunken fool half inflating a burning bag and relaeasing it into the wind during a drought scares the hell out of me for what that would do to the public image of fireworks. the media would have an absolute field day with something like that.
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by St1dinoh View Post
    not exactly...

    there's been a few cases already, in fact i think one was in new york where a lantern fell out of the sky on fire and set fire to someone's front porch. i'm sure someone will chime in with verification on that it was a few years ago.

    what scares me is the possibility of some idiot launching them near an airport, or worse, an oil refinery and killing people with them. sure thats the worse case scenario, but it could happen, and how bad would it be if something tragic happens as a result of these things.

    one of the coolest items in a show when shot properly, but one of the worst thing i can think of that winds up in consumer hands.

    the idea of some drunken fool half inflating a burning bag and relaeasing it into the wind during a drought scares the hell out of me for what that would do to the public image of fireworks. the media would have an absolute field day with something like that.
    Good point

  16. #16

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    I had not heard about the possible New York Porch problem, but I would guess there have been other problems only a few out there have heard about. I know the Lanterns are currently being produced in different colors, but have they started trying any different shapes, like they had back in the early days? They used to have pigs, cows, birds, all kinds of things. Some of them were difficult to inflate, but I understand they were quite a sight once you got them off the ground. A glowing, flying pig going over a large city would certainly make the papers.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Longtimepyro View Post
    I had not heard about the possible New York Porch problem, but I would guess there have been other problems only a few out there have heard about. I know the Lanterns are currently being produced in different colors, but have they started trying any different shapes, like they had back in the early days? They used to have pigs, cows, birds, all kinds of things. Some of them were difficult to inflate, but I understand they were quite a sight once you got them off the ground. A glowing, flying pig going over a large city would certainly make the papers.
    A few of my neigbors actully thought the sky lantern we launched was a UFO!!! I'm getting more this year!!
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    I Love those things, they were my favorite new item last year. I asked around about the legality in NH, and as far as I can tell they aren't banned here. They can be tricky to launch, especially in the wind so the potential for accidents to happen with these things seem pretty high. Even though they may not be specifically banned items I'm pretty sure that in the event of an accident resulting in property damage or injury the launcher if known would be held responsible, they may be able to find a person guilty of general state fire codes like dry season fire bans etc. I try to be careful with them myself, they do make people I know nervous, like my mother and my sister even though they think they are beautiful. The last time I lit off a bunch of them I bought 3 cheap happy birthday ballons at the grocery store to let go into the wind one at a time just before we lit the lanterns so we could gauge the wind, it was a pretty helpful indicator and I'll do that again in the future.

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    Member Array leeca's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Longtimepyro View Post
    It seems to be one of those products which are easily available at the moment because no one has really been paying any attention to them. I suspect whenever the first major problem comes up.
    BINGO

    I think the Sky Lanterns are cool and even cooler when you send up 20 or more, but finding that nice spot can be an issue. Since I live close to the beach and we get Santa Ana winds all the time that are an off shore flow it is a great place to let them rip and just fly out to sea. But other then that a good place to let the loose is often not so easy to find.

    I spot checked the laws in a few of the more fireworks friendly states but I guess I missed North Dakota. I am actually surprised to see North Dakota clearly states that they are legal to use.
    Last edited by leeca; March 18th, 2013 at 11:45 AM.
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by leeca View Post
    BINGO

    I spot checked the laws in a few of the more fireworks friendly states but I guess I missed North Dakota. I am actually surprised to see North Dakota clearly state that they are legal to use.
    If ND wasn't my backyard stomping grounds I doubt I'd know the laws there. I'm a strong advocate of fencing up the entire state and turning it into one big prision. ...not serious on that, just like to take friendly jabs at my ND friends.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by firecrackersam View Post
    I think there is no ban on them because onlinefireworks.com puts them in the ships to all states category. The guys over there do know there laws, so the only thing I can think of would be city restrictions....

    Heres the link:
    http://www.onlinefireworks.com/shipstoallstates.aspx
    The pending legislation in Nebraska originally included a ban on sky lanterns,
    but this provision was dropped.
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    We had an incident last year during one of the MoPyro shoots where someone attempted to launch a sky lantern that could have been a problem. They launched it too early and instead of going up it was pushed by the wind and started rolling across the ground. It had rained all that day so the grass was nice and wet but the problem was it rolled across the area where all of the fireworks had been set up. I know I wasn't the only one cringing as I watched this little flaming ball of potential destruction roll across wires, boards, cakes and fuses. How it didn't ignite anything I have no idea but it was lucky it didn't. There would of been quite a few angry pyros if that thing had started lighting off other peoples shows.

    I like sky lanterns but would never use them in any type of show. Might as well tie morning glories at the end of a helium balloon and send them up. The potential for a problem is too great as once you release it you have no control over it. Not having control over an object that will burn for more than several minutes that is at the mercy of the wind and flying over people, houses and other fire hazards is never a good thing in my book.

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  23. #23

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    good topic for discussion!
    As far as I know of in Pa there is nothing specific against them. However, it would probably be up to the AHJ to decide.
    For example, we have a S&S store in a city - the Firemarshall came by 3 days after we opened up - "If you have any Sky lanterns - take them out of the store". HE was going around to all of the fireworks stands and yanking them out. I guess the night before - they had 2 fires in the City caused by these. BUT you don't put these off in a heavily populated area!
    We wiil sell again - but if AHJ comes in and says take them off shelf - then so be it.
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    Snakes and Sparklers Array HerrLoll's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    I can certainly see how these could be dangerous in the wrong hands.... just like any other item under the sun... cooking oil, grills, automobiles, etc..

    Personally, I limit the use of them to days with very calm conditions, preferably after a good rain, or sometimes in the morning after a heavy dew. And, I like to follow them and see how far they go. Depending on the air currents a couple hundred feet up, it is amazing how far away (or how close) they will land. The shortest flight distance I've seen is 1/4 mile... the longest that I am aware of: over 7 miles.

    I plan to experiment later this year with tethering them. I'm thinking that a fishing pole with a full reel of ultralight line would work nicely.
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  25. #25

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    I was just at the Sylvania 300 in New Hampshire and they were confiscating them all from the campers, claiming they were illegal in New Hampshire. because unless you allow it to fill correctly, then it is likely to fall, which i witnessed. It actually burned the awning of someones camper when the balloon got taken out by the wind and, failed to extinguish itself like it is supposed to. I thought they were legal, but i would heavily check your states laws because it was a massive problem at the race. The police could obviously do nothing to stop 100,000 people,but to me it just looks like a floating forest fire waiting to happen

  26. #26
    Have fireworks. Will travel. Array JoeRatman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Sky Lanterns are specifically prohibited in MN.

    Here is a letter from the State Fire Marshal (dated 7/31/2012) sent to the Minnesota Retailers Association, reminding them that selling and using Sky Lanterns in MN is illegal.
    https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/sfm/pro...rns%20Memo.pdf

    I still remember about two years ago, I was lead on a professional 4th of July show. One of my crew members, yelled and pointed, "what is that". I looked up and was horrified to see at least two dozen sky lanterns flying at about 20-30' above the ground heading right for us. The only thing I could do was clear the crew from the loading area and wait and pray that none of them crashed into our fireworks or dropped hot material on them. Fortunately, none did.
    Last edited by JoeRatman; March 16th, 2013 at 09:08 PM.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    ...and it only took 3 years for the reply
    Fireworks....yay!

  28. #28
    Ride the Lightning Array AceThunder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzK View Post
    ...and it only took 3 years for the reply
    LOL
    Have you used any Sky Lanterns in those three years of waiting?
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    Moderator Array lava's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Longtimepyro View Post
    I know they are supposed to be safe and so far they seem to be "legal"....
    Legalities won't matter one way or the other if you use one of those things and end up setting a structure or a stand of trees on fire.
    If they can prove it was you I can almost guarantee you'll feel the full weight of the law come down on your shoulders. They look cool, but I don't and won't use them.
    I saw an incident with one of those things last year that could have gone serious. Fortunately it didn't.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Anyone know of any legal problems with those Sky Lanterns?

    Drones! Lol

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