FBI: Aircraft-targeting laser incidents increasing in New York state


New York – Reports of people targeting aircraft cockpits with lasers have increased to 75 this year between Jan. 1 and Oct. 16 in New York state, compared with 64 in the same time period in 2012, according to an FBI New York office spokesperson.

In two incidents being investigated by the FBI, laser beams were pointed into the cockpit of two separate aircrafts within six miles of LaGuardia Airport on the night of Oct. 15. No one was injured; however, several commercial pilots suffered “significant” injuries in other incidents earlier this year, according to an FBI press release. The Federal Aviation Administration states that pointing even a small laser into an aircraft cockpit may seriously injure pilots’ eyes and temporarily blind them.

In 2011, the agency increased the maximum civil penalty for pointing a laser at an aircraft cockpit to $11,000 after reports of laser incidents nationwide nearly doubled between 2009 and 2010.

Visit the FAA website to report a laser incident, and contact the FBI at (212) 384-1000 if you have information about the Oct. 15 incidents.