Wed, Sep 30, 2009
DOT Requires Immediate Reporting Of Incidents To ATC
An FAA database shows that lasers were directed at aircraft
cockpits over 900 times in 2008, and pilots have occasionally been
temporarily blinded by the incidents, according to a report in The
In some instances, pilots have reported having to abort landings
or turn over the aircraft to a pilot who is not incapacitated. "You
don't want a pilot to be incapacitated," FAA national office
spokeswoman Laura Brown told the paper. "The message is: Do not
shine laser lights at airplanes. You face federal prosecution and
time in jail if you're caught doing this."
So far, there have been no accidents or injuries associated with
laser activity, she said.
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the FAA's western region, said laser
incidents have been on the rise this year, with over 730 reported
contacts through July. Gregor said he didn't know why people shine
laser beams at aircraft. Some have reportedly been intoxicated, he
said, while others are teenagers. He also said some armature
astronomers may accidentally cause a laser contact while using the
devices to aim their telescopes.
Gregor said the vast majority of pilots report seeing green
lasers, which have gotten more inexpensive over the years and can
be seen from a greater distance. "I don't know whether people who
engage in this kind of irresponsible behavior are ignorant or
malicious or both," he said. "People have been arrested all over
the country for shining lasers at aircraft."
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