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FAA asking laser manufacturers to add a warning label about the dangers of shining them at planes

LAser aircraft
Posted at 11:20 PM, Feb 10, 2023

WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration is asking laser manufacturers to add a warning labelto their packaging to make consumers aware of the safety risks and federal laws when using lasers.

2022 saw a slight decrease in the number of laser incidents after a record setting 2021. 9,457 incidents were reported in 2022, compared to 9,723 in 2021 and 6,853 incidents in 2020.

FAA data showsthere were 417 laser hazard incidents in 2022 in Indiana. Most of the incidents happened between 1-4 a.m. One person was injured.

"Lasers may seem like just a toy, office tool, or game for most, but they can incapacitate pilots putting thousands of passengers at risk every year. We need your help to combat this serious issue," Billy Nolen, Acting FAA Administrator, wrote in the letter to manufacturers.

Since 2010, the FAA says 278 pilots have been injured by a laser strike.

WRTV Investigates started tracking this problem back in 2014 back when 4,000 laser strikes a year nationwide was the norm.

Matt Hagans, a pilot and founder of Eagle Creek Aviation in Indianapolis, talked to WRTV Investigates Kara Kenney in 2021 about the issue.

“I was flying into Fort Lauderdale, and I picked up a green light right in my vision,” said Hagans. “It was quite bright. I told the control tower what I saw, reported it. I wasn't debilitated in any fashion but it was annoying obviously."

If you're a member of the public who witnessed an individual aiming a laser at an aircraft, send an e-mail to laserreports@faa.gov and include the following information:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Date and time you witnessed the laser incident
  • Location and description of the incident

“That allows us to conduct an investigation,” said Rebecca MacPherson, Regional Administrator with the FAA’s Great Lakes Region. “Not only does the FAA investigate, but local law enforcement and the FBI will investigate. So, we do take it very seriously. We ask people to please report if they're aware of an incident."

You can find out more information about reporting incidents online.

Hagans hopes people report it.

"It's gotta be somebody on the ground that sees it,” said Hagans. “From the air we can't tell where it's coming from."

People who shine lasers at aircraft face FAA fines of up to $11,000 per violation and up to $30,800 for multiple laser incidents.