Feds, pilots warn of lasers pointed into cockpits

Feb 11, 2014
Los Angeles Police Air Support Division helicopter pilots listen to law enforcement agents, as they announce a 60-day FBI campaign, "Don't Let a Prank Lead to Prison, Aiming a Laser at an Aircraft is a Federal Crime,'' to publicize the problem of pointing lasers to aircraft, during a news conference at the Los Angeles International airport Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. The FBI announced today that it will offer rewards up to $10,000 for people who report others for shining laser pointers at aircraft. A handheld laser can temporarily blind pilots who sometimes need to depend on their vision for orientation. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Airline pilots and federal officials launched a campaign Monday to warn about the dangers of people pointing lasers into cockpits. They're promising prosecution for those who are caught, and a reward for those who turn them in.

While the powerful beams of light do not harm the aircraft, they can temporarily blind pilots, some of whom had to hand over control to a co-pilot.

The number of reported incidents nationwide increased from about 2,800 in 2010 to nearly 4,000 last year, according to data collected by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA attributed the increase to more reporting by pilots as well as the availability of stronger lasers that can reach higher altitudes.

Portland, Ore., had the most reported instances, with 139. The rest of the top 10: Houston; Phoenix; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; Chicago; New York; Honolulu; and Miami.

No laser incident has resulted in a crash, but officials emphasized Monday that the threat is real. The FBI plans to offer a $10,000 reward for information that leads to a conviction.

"We applaud the FBI for recognizing how serious this situation is," said Capt. Sean Cassidy, first of the Airline Pilots Association.

The FAA said that over the past two years, it has investigated 152 laser incidents, resulting in 96 "enforcement actions."

Explore further: Helping the judicial system understand laser strikes on aircraft

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Automation in the air dulls pilot skill

Aug 30, 2011

(AP) -- Safety and industry officials worry that there will be more deadly airline accidents traced to pilots who have lost their hands-on instincts as planes become ever more reliant on automation to navigate ...

Recommended for you

BlackBerry courts iPhone users with cash

10 hours ago

Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is wooing Apple customers with a cash offer for trade-ins of iPhones for its new square-screened, keyboard-equipped Passport.

HP earnings show continued struggle

11 hours ago

Venerable tech giant Hewlett-Packard has been struggling for three years to turn its business around. Its latest earnings show it still has more work ahead.

UN moves to strengthen digital privacy (Update)

11 hours ago

The United Nations on Tuesday adopted a resolution on protecting digital privacy that for the first time urged governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance.

Spotify turns up volume as losses fall

11 hours ago

The world's biggest music streaming service, Spotify, announced Tuesday its revenue grew by 74 percent in 2013 while net losses shrank by one third, in a year of spectacular expansion.

Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live

12 hours ago

Long thought a thing of the future, electric cars are becoming mainstream. Sales in the United States of plug-in, electric vehicles nearly doubled last year. Credible forecasts see the number rising within ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.