FAA Sets Up Website for Public to Report Laser Strikes on Aircraft

By Susan Jones | October 27, 2011 | 10:10 AM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - The Federal Aviation Administration, alarmed about a growing number of cases where lasers are shined into airplane cockpits, on Thursday launched a new website intended to reverse the trend.

“Shining a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft is a serious safety risk and violates federal law,” the website says. “Many high-powered lasers can completely incapacitate pilots who are trying to fly safely to their destinations and may be carrying hundreds of passengers. Unfortunately, reported incidents of lasers aimed at aircraft are steadily increasing.”

Since 2005, when the FAA recorded 283 laser incidents, the number has steadily grown to a record 2,836 in 2010.

The new “laserinfo” website includes a page where pilots or witnesses can report incidents. The FAA says it needs everyone’s help in reporting these incidents so it can alert local law enforcement.

In June, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced fines of up to $11,000 for interfering with a flight crew. “This means that if your friend points a laser at a plane and then hands you the laser and you do it too, you can each get an $11,000 fine. It’s simple. Point a laser, pay the price,” Babbitt said.

The FAA says today’s lasers are stronger than ever and can hit aircraft at higher and higher altitudes.

“We now have green laser devices widely available in the marketplace that are stronger and more readily seen than the red lasers used in pointers,” Babbitt said in June.