Laser strikes of aircraft INCREASE as detection and punishment are ESCALATED- consequences likely

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Laser strikes on Aircraft increase by a ridiculous 41%

“Thrill” actions can result in death, permanent disability and other substantial negative consequences

FAA and DoJ have prioritized criminal sanctions when the likelihood of detection/punishment INCREASES

There are very few behaviors that are more asinine than pointing a powerful laser at an airplane. Balance the thrill of seeing a green spot on an aircraft AGAINST:

  • Permanently blinding one or two pilots (disabling them from work)
  • Temporarily blinding highly trained aviation safety professional(s) and thereby preventing the operation of the plane
  • Incapacitating the pilot(s) could crash the aircraft and could result in death to the passengers and those on the ground
  • Once the thrill-seekers felt as though it was not possible to detect their position, i.e., their identity. It was unlikely that their selfish, dangerous (to others) act would result in CONSEQUENCES to the idiot perpetrators.


  • Law enforcement has developed techniques to spot the laser’s origin
  • Detection has become a HIGH priority for police departments, particularly around airports.
  • Boeing has invented a laser detection and warning system and associated methods of warning a pilot of an aircraft of incoming laser radiation and determining a location of a source of laser radiation. Others have entered the laser detection system market.

This self-indulgent, ignorant behavior NOW is likely to result in major monetary penalties and/or time in jail.


laser point safety

If not yet convinced, go to the highly respected LaserPointerSafety website[1] and educate yourself why this is not just a fun gig. iT IS an independent resource for usersregulatorspilotsmedialaw enforcement and others concerned with handheld portable lasers. Here are the experts’ major points

  • Visual interference with pilots
  •  Potential eye injury
  • Current, verified consequences:

o   US: 8 months in prison for aiming laser at sheriff’s helicopter

o   Australia: 15-month suspended sentence for drunk man who aimed blue laser at police helicopter

o   US: Probation and fine for “bored” man who aimed laser pointer at helicopter during Milwaukee protests

o   Canada: Man who pointed laser at aircraft assaults arresting officer

o   Ireland: “High intensity laser attack” during Coast Guard rescue

o   Scotland: Laser forces medical helicopter to take patient to hospital further away

o   Australia: Perth man aims blue laser at police helicopter



Aircraft laser strikes on planes soar 41%: Here’s what the FAA is doing about it

Harriet Baskas

 Harriet Baskas


Despite the Federal Aviation Administration’s public plea to “lose the laser” or face fines of up to $250,000 or five years in jail, people keep shining lasers at aircraft and causing serious safety threats.

In fact, people – we imagine them all being 12-year-olds, but it’s likely they’re not – are shining lasers at airplanes more than ever before.

According to the FAA’s most recent report, during 2021 pilots reported 9,723 incidents of lasers being pointed at their aircraft. That’s the highest number of laser strikes everFAA by year recorded in one year by the agency.


© The Points Guy(Image courtesy of the FAA)








© The Points Guy(Image courtesy of the FAA)

“Intentionally aiming lasers at aircraft poses a safety threat to pilots and violates federal law,” the FAA said in a statement, noting that “many high-powered lasers can incapacitate pilots flying aircraft that may be carrying hundreds of passengers.

In 2021, the FAA logged 47 reports of laser-related injuries. That’s more than double the number of similar injuries reported in 2020, when the number of airplanes in the sky was significantly reduced due to the pandemic, but just slightly higher than the number of reported laser injuries in 2019.INJURIES

© The Points Guy(Image courtesy of the FAA)

“The FAA continues to educate the public about the hazards of laser strikes because they pose such a serious threat to the safety of the pilot, the passengers and everyone in the vicinity of the aircraft,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement.FAA ADMINISTRATOR DICKSON

In addition to educating the public about the hazards of laser strikes, the FAA can fine people up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple laser incidents. In 2021, the FAA issued $120,000 in fines for laser strikes, but laser scofflaws may also be subject to criminal penalties from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies which can make the fines for these offenses much greater and may add jail time.

Since 2010, when the FAA began keeping records of laser strikes, through the end of 2021, there have been a total of 67,558 laser incidents in the United States and its territories.


Over that period, FAA records show more laser strikes taking place on Fridays and Saturdays than on other days of the week, and California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Illinois, respectively, as the top states for number of laser strikes reported.

© The Points Guy(Image courtesy of the FAA)

Featured image courtesy of the FAA.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.

Further examples

Video from FAA & Air Force summarizing laser hazards: “Aircraft Laser Illumination”


Provo aircraft pilots blinded by laser

 provo pilots









Man facing federal charges for aiming laser pointer at aircraft






Agencies Warn the Public About Laser Strikes on Aircraft












  • Our goals include:
  • Educating the publicto never aim lasers at aircraft.
  • Providing background material for the press, regulators and legislators.
  • Helping manufacturers make safer lasers, and better inform their customers.
  • Making suggestions for all parties — users, manufacturers, pilots, regulators — on how to reduce incidents and improve safety.
  • Finding reasonable, practical solutions for laser misuse issues. accepts limited sponsorship support from organizations and companies who share the goals listed above. We stress to all potential sponsors that is editorially independent, and that their sponsorship will not affect the content or views posted on this website. Specifically, does not necessarily reflect the views of any sponsor, supporter or group, including the International Laser Display Association.

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