FAA Issues Guidance As Laser Strikes Increase

 - March 4, 2013, 12:50 PM
Even tiny laser pointers can cause significant eye injury.

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. is now a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $11,000 per violation. That threat, however, seems to have had little effect on the meteoric rise in the number of laser strikes against aircraft of all types. Even U.S. military aircraft have become laser targets. In 2005, the number of recorded strikes stood at 283. By the end of 2011, that number had risen 1,100 percent to nearly 3,600 incidents. The AC says most FAA ATC facilities will report laser incidents through the Washington Operations Center Complex (WOCC). The government’s Domestic Events Network (DEN) then shares between the FAA and the Transportation Security Administration, as well as other governmental stakeholders and law enforcement agencies, real-time security related information that affects NAS air traffic operations.