The bright lights of Levi's Stadium are causing some problems for one of its neighbors: The San Jose airport.
Since opening last fall, the new stadium has been creating headaches for some pilots flying at night. The bright lights at the stadium, which is just six miles away from the airport, are along the take-off and landing routes for some planes. This is interfering with pilots' vision and increasing the risk of an accident.
According to NBC Bay Area News, the lights interfere with vision enough that some pilots have to deal with blind spots or reduced visibility, sometimes having to rely on their instruments to know where they are in the air.
"The captain I was flying with noticed where it was coming from and we heard other pilots in the area complaining about the lights coming from the stadium," said one commercial pilot. "And at that point all we were really worried about was getting the aircraft on the ground safely."
In a written report to the FAA, the pilot called out Levi's Stadium specifically.
"Created a blind spot in my field of vision -- had to rely on instruments until about 100 feet [above ground level] because of the distraction," said the report.
So far, little has been done to correct the problems created by the stadium's lights. The FAA has warned pilots of the vision hazard but hasn't contacted the stadium directly.
Here's video by NBC of Levi's Stadium and its light interference taken from an aircraft:
Officials at Levi's Stadium say that they worked with the FAA to make sure its lights and other protocols were all within regulation.
Even so, there's a chance the stadium -- home to the San Francisco 49ers and host of this season's Super Bowl -- may have to make changes to its lighting, either by installing shields to reduce interference, or to reduce wattage. Restrictions on when certain lights can be illuminated may even be a possibility.
Experts told NBC Bay Area that the bright lighting can cause a condition called "flicker vertigo" to set in among pilots. One pilot has also told the FAA that certain lighting patterns on the stadium could, in bad weather, be mistaken for a landing strip.
Said one local pilot: "We know that it cost a lot of money to build that stadium, but safety has to be first."