Air Video Federal agencies

FBI expands campaign on lasers being pointed at aircraft

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Washington – A test program to reduce the number of handheld laser attacks on aircraft has expanded into a national initiative from the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Line Pilots Association, International.

Lasers pointed at aircraft can cause serious eye injuries to pilots and temporarily blind them, which may cause them to lose control of the aircraft and potentially crash.

In February, the FBI launched a pilot program at 12 field offices aimed at increasing awareness about the dangers of laser strikes on aircraft. Since then, the FBI said, the number of reported incidents had decreased by 19 percent in the major metropolitan areas of those 12 field offices.

Under the expanded campaign, anyone in the United States with information about a person aiming a laser at an aircraft can contact one of the FBI’s 56 nationwide field offices. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Incidents also can be reported on FAA’s website or by calling 911.

According to FAA, 3,960 laser incidents occurred nationwide in 2013 – 14 times more than in 2005.