Authorities: Pointing lasers at aircraft endangers crew, passengers

Trenton, NJ – The Air Line Pilots Association, International; the Federal Aviation Administration; and law enforcement representatives have called for increased awareness of the dangers of pointing lasers at aircraft.

At a Sept. 19 press conference, ALPA President Lee Moak commented that shining lasers at aircraft can put pilots, passengers and the public on the ground at risk. FAA released a memorandum (.pdf file) on June 1, 2011, declaring that lasers jeopardize aircraft crew by causing distraction, glare, flash blindness and potential permanent visual impairment. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act (H.R.658), which was signed into law in February, expanded civil penalties to include a possible five-year prison term for being caught shining a laser into an aircraft.

Pilots reported 2,836 laser attacks on aircraft in 2010 and 3,592 incidents in 2011, according to FAA.

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