Save the laser pointers for cats.
It’s dangerous to point handheld lasers at airplanes, as the light can blind the pilots. While the light may only appear as a small dot from the ground, it can actually obscure a large portion of the pilot’s view.
The FAA issued a press release detailing the findings of a recent study about laser incidents.
Despite this, incidents of people shining lasers at planes near airports are apparently on the rise.
The FAA issued a press release detailing the findings of a recent study about laser incidents. The study looked at laser strike data from 2010 through 2020 and looked into various trends, including geographic area, time of day, the date and per capita data.
According to the study, laser strikes increased from 2019 to 2020. This was surprising to the organization since the overall number of flights was greatly reduced during 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said, “Pointing a laser at an aircraft can temporarily blind a pilot and not only affects the crew but endangers passengers and the communities they fly over every night.”
In 2019, there were 6,139 laser strikes reported by pilots. The following year, pilots reported 6,852 laser strikes.
The FAA can issue fines of up to $11,000 to people shining lasers at planes, with that number increasing to $30,800 for multiple incidents. In 2021, the FAA issued $120,000 in fines. In total, the FAA has issued $600,000 in fines since 2016.
Shining a laser at a plane can also result in criminal charges from federal, state and local law enforcement.