CLEVELAND — The Federal Aviation Administration is sending out a warning after reports or lasers being pointed at aircraft have increased.
The FAA reported 6,852 laser incidents in 2020, up from 6,136 in 2019. This is the highest reported number of incidents since 2016 despite a lower number of air traffic operations.
Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime. Intentionally aiming lasers at aircrafts poses a safety threat to pilots and violates federal law. Many high-powered lasers can incapacitate pilots flying aircraft that may be carrying hundreds of passengers.
The number of incidents reported in the last five years include:
- 2016— 7,398
The FAA works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to pursue civil and criminal penalties against people who purposely aim a laser at an aircraft. The agency will issue fines to people who violate Federal Aviation rules by shining lasers at aircraft and can impose civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.
The FAA has imposed civil penalties up to $30,800 against people for multiple laser incidents.
To minimize risk, pilots and crewmembers should report laser incidents as soon as possible.
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