Lasers and aviation safety

April 1, 2014 - 2:05am

The incidence of lasers being pointed at aircraft is rising at an alarming rate, jumping by more than 1,000 percent since the FAA started tracking data in 2005. Last year, according to FAA data, so-called “lasing” incidents averaged 11 per day. With this proliferation comes greater potential for an aircraft accident, with injury and loss of life both to aircraft occupants and to people on the ground.

April 1, 2014 - 12:59am

The incidence of lasers being pointed at aircraft is rising at an alarming rate, jumping by more than 1,000 percent since the FAA started tracking data in 2005. Last year, according to FAA data, so-called “lasing” incidents averaged 11 per day. With this proliferation comes greater potential for an aircraft accident, with injury and loss of life both to aircraft occupants and to people on the ground.

February 11, 2014 - 3:28pm

The Air Line Pilots Association International, FBI and FAA have jointly launched a campaign across 12 U.S. cities to raise public awareness about the consequences of illegal laser attacks on aircraft cockpits. Reports of aircraft laser illuminations in the U.S. have increased sharply over the past few years (partially fueled by an FAA website set up to report such incidents), from 2,836 in 2010 to 3,960 in 2013.

March 4, 2013 - 12:50pm

The FAA is urging pilots to spend training time focusing on an updated Advisory Circular 70-2A, which deals with what the agency says is “a significant increase in the unauthorized laser illumination of aircraft.” The AC provides guidance to both aircrews and air traffic controllers about formal reporting of laser illumination incidents. Pointing a laser at an aircraft in the U.S.

September 3, 2012 - 2:05am

Night Flight Concepts (NFC) is offering laser defense training online. The one-hour course is available to law enforcement and other first responders for $95 and to other students for $125 through the company’s website: www.nightflightconcepts.com. Upon finishing the course, students take an online quiz and can print a certificate of completion.

August 6, 2012 - 4:00pm

The South African Civil Aviation Authority reported last week that the incidence of laser pointers being aimed at aircraft in that country’s airspace is on the rise, mostly during takeoff and landing. Last year 175 incidents were recorded. So far this year there have been 170, indicating a higher total for 2012.

May 21, 2012 - 4:45pm
Laser pointers and airplanes don't mix

Numbers released on May 15 by the FAA dramatize growing concerns over increasing numbers of people who continue to shine laser pointers at passing aircraft. While relatively harmless in initial appearance, laser beams from even handheld pointers have temporarily blinded pilots and forced crewmembers to take evasive action.

May 17, 2012 - 1:48pm

The FAA has directed its investigators and staff to pursue stiffer penalties for people who purposefully point laser devices at aircraft. Shining a laser at an airplane can temporarily blind the pilots, resulting in a safety issue. The number of reported laser incidents nationwide rose to 3,592 last year from 2,836 in 2010.

October 27, 2011 - 4:57pm

The FAA launched a new website today where pilots and others can report incidents of lasers being shined at aircraft. It includes links for reporting laser incidents, laser statistics and FAA research on the dangers lasers can pose to pilots.

December 7, 2007 - 8:29am

In response to numerous reports of lasers being pointed at aircraft, the FAA last month issued advisory circular (AC) 70-2 requesting all aircrews to report immediately incidents of unauthorized laser illumination to the appropriate ATC facility. The AC also requires air traffic controllers to notify pilots immediately about laser events.

 
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