FAA Reports Rise in Laser Events at US Airports

23 January 2011 (Last Updated January 23rd, 2011 18:30)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that reports of lasers pointed at aircraft in airports across the US have doubled to 2,800 in 2010, compared with the previous year. Los Angeles International Airport has recorded the highest number of laser events in the country with 1

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that reports of lasers pointed at aircraft in airports across the US have doubled to 2,800 in 2010, compared with the previous year.

Los Angeles International Airport has recorded the highest number of laser events in the country with 102 reports, while Chicago O'Hare International Airport has reported 98 events.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport has recorded 80 laser incidents, each in 2010.

US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said this is a serious safety issue because lasers can distract and harm pilots during aircraft take off and landing.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said the FAA is actively warning people not to point high-powered lasers at aircraft because they can damage a pilot's eyes or cause temporary blindness.

According to FAA, the rise in such incidents is due to availability of inexpensive laser devices on the internet, higher power levels that enable lasers to hit aircraft at higher altitudes, increased pilot reporting of laser strikes and the introduction of green lasers.