Laser pointers are growing issue for aircraft, FAA says

07/26/2011 | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Federal Aviation Administration said there were 2,836 incidents involving laser pointers directed at aircraft in 2010, up from fewer than 300 in 2005. A man in Missouri temporarily blinded a pilot recently by pointing a laser pointer at a helicopter. The man spent a night in jail and received a year's probation for the incident. Violators who point lasers at aircraft can be charged with interfering with a flight or a flight crew. Lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make it a crime to point lasers at aircraft. In addition, FAA announced that violators could face fines of up to $11,000 per incident.

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